Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga calls for speedy resolution of taxi impasse in Cape Town

Government is deeply concerned about the ongoing conflict involving the minibus-taxi industry and the City of Cape Town, which has escalated into a strike as a result of impounding of taxi vehicles by the City of Cape Town.

We condemn the violence that has characterised this strike in the strongest possible terms. Those who perpetuate criminality must face the full might of the law. Government will not tolerate lawlessness, irrespective of who the perpetrator is. Our democracy is founded human rights and the exercise of those rights requires that we respect the rights of others. It can never be acceptable for those who are aggrieved by the actions of the City to blockade roads and undermine the rights of ordinary citizens to travel or access schools, places of work and economic activity. It is equally not acceptable for officers of the law to conduct themselves in a manner the violates the law and the rights of citizens including the taxi industry. We will therefore act decisively, working closely with law enforcement agencies and authorities to uproot this criminality.

We call on the taxi industry to denounce any form of violence or intimidation by its members.

I have personally intervened in efforts to find a lasting solution to the impasse through numerous engagements with the taxi industry under the leadership of SANTACO. I have also met with the Premier of the Western Cape, the MEC and the City led by the Mayor and the MMC. We have made strides in addressing the root cause of the current tensions, and we are confident that we will find each other in the process.

The City of Cape Town has introduced conditions of operating licences, which by-laws the taxi industry has expressed reservations on. The Task Team that was established to address the concerns has not made headway, resulting in the City implementing the impounding of vehicles based on these conditions.

It is an integral part of our legal system that administrative decisions must be based on the principle of legality. We have national laws in place that govern the infringements and penalties dealt with in the contested conditions of operating licences. The national laws are in place to ensure that fair rules are applicable to all citizens irrespective of the City or Province they reside in. This is a constitutional mandate to ensure order and effectiveness of the rule of law. It can never be that a City will define itself outside the parameters of national laws and implement penalties that are out of sync with these laws. We therefore call on the City of Cape Town to respect and uphold national laws as they currently stand.

To this end, we call on the City to return to the negotiating table to address the areas of disagreement and demonstrate a genuine effort to find a lasting resolution to the current challenges.

On the basis of these considerations, we therefore call on the City to immediately release without any conditions, all vehicles impounded based on operating licence and leave those impounded in terms of the National Land Transport Act of 2009.

We remain committed to moving with speed in finding an amicable solution that must enable the taxi industry to resume operation and call off the strike. Such an outcome is in the interest of the country and the industry.

Our efforts to regulate the taxi industry must be underpinned by mutual respect of the law and a genuine effort to uplift this industry and ensure that it assumes its place in the broader public transport industry, characterised by respect for the law and the rights of others.

Violence and lawlessness have no place in our society and government will not hesitate to unleash the full might of the law against those who believe they can perpetuate such conduct with impunity.

Source: Government of South Africa