National Taxi Alliance (NTA) and the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco ) in Gauteng are set to meet with the MEC for roads and transport Jacob Mamabolo in the first week of May to look at implementing the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into taxi violence in the province. The commission was set up by premier David Makhura last year to look at the main causes of taxi violence in Gauteng that has seen many deaths among taxi operators with some cases taking long to see prosecutions.
Speaking in a TV morning show on Friday, 23 April about how his department and the two Gauteng-based taxi bodies would tackle the issues and implement some of the recommendations from the commission led by retired judge Jaremiah Shongwe.
“Government alone will not solve taxi violence by imposing itself to the taxi industry. It is only through concerted methods involving the taxi industry itself that would help in the long run,” said Mamabolo.
He said that two burning issues from the recommendations – one about the involvement of officials in the department involved in the processing of applications for routes and the alleged involvement of law enforcement officials like police and traffic personnel – needed to be speedily attended to. It has been widely believed that taxi violence would not stop because a number of police and traffic officials owned taxis in the province and would therefore compromise investigations in violence within the sector.
“Those tasked with processing the applications for routes are themselves heavily conflicted and law now law enforcement people also are in the picture. In fact 80% of law enforcement agencies are corrupt. We have their names. These are just two issues that we need to implement as a matter of urgency,” said Mamabolo.
Both the NTA and Santaco national structures have in the past few years argued that only a political will from the government would see an end to taxi-related deaths because it had all tools in its possession to ensure an end to the sad state of the industry engulfed by violence.
“Government has all the resources at its disposal to can easily quell and stop violence as well as to prosecute the perpetrators of this scourge,” Alpheus Mlalazi, general secretary of the NTA said at the time.
Santaco has also believed that it was up to the government to use all the resources it had to stop and arrest people fomenting violence in the county.
Meanwhile, Mamabolo has said that parts of the National Land Transport Act for public transport under which the taxi industry falls, may need to be amended to ensure that the taxi sector also enjoyed protection relating to governance and control for the taxis.
“There is an amendment that is coming which will determine what should happen with the taxi sector,” Mamabolo confirmed.
Meanwhile, Theo Malele, NTA spokesperson has confirmed that they will meet with the MEC as the taxi industry in Gauteng on 4th May to look at and discuss some of the recommendations from the commission.