Cape taxi bosses call to speed up taxi route arbitration process
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Cape Town - Taxi bosses in the Western Cape are calling on the Department of Transport and Public Works to speed up the arbitration process on the contested B97 route between Bellville and Mbekweni.
The route, known as B97, was closed by Transport and Public Works MEC Daylin Mitchell for two months from July 26 in an effort to quell the violence between feuding operators aligned to the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Association (Codeta).
Last week Mitchell announced the route, two taxi ranks in Mbekweni and an informal rank in Bellville would remain closed for another two months from September 25.
Cata secretary Mandla Hermanus said they were not surprised by the extension of the closure of B97.
“We do not see how the route could have been reopened while the arbitration process was ongoing. The continued closure of the route has dire financial consequences for our operators, whom we believe are the rightful people who started that route,” said Hermanus.
He further called on the department to quickly finalise the arbitration process.
Mitchell said the arbitrator would be wrapping up evidence gathering at the end of September and was due to submit the report and findings at the end of October.
“We expect implementation to take place during October, but parties have the option of applying to make the arbitration findings an order of court, which will take time,” said Mitchell.
He said more than 200 vehicles illegally operating on roads between Mbekweni and Paarl off the B97 route had been impounded, so the situation was clearly not yet stable.
He said the extension of the closure of the B97 route and associated ranks for a further two months would give the search for a lasting peace a viable chance.
Codeta spokesperson Andile Khanyi said he heard about the extension of the route closure on the news. However, as Codeta they respected the decision, “if it is going to bring a solution at the end of the day, because this matter is still under arbitration”.
SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) provincial spokesperson Gershon Geyer said the council would support the decision by the department, “if it means there will be stability and no more violence in the industry”.
Mitchell said in terms of the Transport Contingency Plan that was drawn up at the start of the closure period, additional Golden Arrow bus trips would remain in operation between Bellville and Paarl.
Commuters would also be able to use existing Metrorail train services between Bellville and Paarl.