Western Cape MEC announces closure of major taxi route due to violence
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Cape Town - Transport and Public Works MEC Daylin Mitchell on Friday announced the closure of Route B97 between Mbekweni/Paarl and Bellville effective from Monday due to the violence rocking the taxi industry.
Route B97 has been at the centre of the turf war in Cape Town between the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta).
In a statement, Mitchell said after consultation with the South African Police Service, the Western Cape premier and the national minister of transport, he believed closing the route was the correct course of action.
He noted that attempts to assist the two associations towards finding a lasting solution had not yet yielded a result.
From Monday, Mitchell said all routes and taxi ranks including lands and long-distance route facilities situated at the Bellville Public Transport Interchange would be closed for the operation of any minibus taxi-type service for two months.
Any opening licences or permits authorising any taxi-type on a closed route or closed taxi rank contemplated were suspended for the duration, he said, adding that taxi operators who contravened this notice would be liable, on conviction, to a R5 000 fine or six months’ imprisonment.
“We can longer be held hostage by a criminal few who continue to undermine the interests of many law-abiding taxi drivers, and who threaten both the lives and livelihoods of our residents,” said Mitchell.
“I have sworn an oath to act in the best interests of our people and will continue to do so, using every mechanism available to me.”
He said his department would continue to offer the venue and independent mediators necessary to assist the taxi associations work towards a resolution, urging the transport groups to put the best interests of the communities first.
Mitchell added that an announcement would be made at the weekend about alternative travel arrangements for commuters affected by the route closure.
African News Agency (ANA)