Premier Alan Winde has called for calm amid the taxi strike, and for taxi leadership to return to the negotiating table, to work with the Western Cape Government and City of Cape Town to resolve long-standing issues that have confronted the industry.
This comes amid violent taxi-related protests across the province which has seen vehicles being torched and a Golden Arrow driver being shot and wounded in Khayelitsha this morning.
Incidents of burning tyres in Atlantis, Bloekombos, Witsand and Borcherd’s Quarry, as well as a vehicle alight in Langa was also reported this morning. There was also stone throwing along the N7 in the vicinity of Dunoon.
Several Golden Arrow buses have been torched. Law enforcement officers continue to maintain a high visibility presence in all hotspot areas, and escorts of bus services are continuing, to ensure a safe passage for commuters.
Premier Winde says while they recognise the important role the mini-bus taxi sector plays in the public transport industry and economy, calling a strike, that has been accompanied by violence, is not the answer to resolving the grievances of operators and drivers.
This will be a blow to our shared economic growth and will impact the poor the hardest.
Premier Winde expressed his disappointment at SANTACO-WC’s sudden withdrawal
from the Minibus Taxi Task Team, which had been established with the CoCT to deal
with issues raised by industry leaders.
He added that long-term solutions are desperately needed but cannot be formulated under these circumstances.
Violence is not the answer. You have the right to strike, but not to endanger the lives of
residents and law enforcement officers and destroy property. The safety of commuters,
the very lifeblood of the taxi industry, who are bearing the brunt of this violent protest
action, is of paramount importance.
[LISTEN] Mini-bus taxi stakeholders involved in Western Cape strike should return to the negotiating table & refrain from resorting to violence. pic.twitter.com/pjBBqB0RJA
— Premier Alan Winde 🇿🇦 (@alanwinde) August 4, 2023
Both the provincial government and the City of Cape Town are now exploring legal action, against the minibus taxi associations to interdict the violence associated with the strike.
The City says the events that have unfolded since yesterday afternoon only serve to confirm that the taxi industry has no regard for anyone.
Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis yesterday also expressed concern that Police Minister Bheki Cele was involved a taxi industry meeting yesterday, before they called the strike, despite not being responsible for transport as a government minister.
I strongly condemn the violence linked to the SANTACO strike 🚕🚨
We won't tolerate disruption and will hold perpetrators accountable for public violence and damages.
— Geordin Hill-Lewis (@geordinhl) August 3, 2023
The Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security JP Smith said:
The callous attacks on other public transport vehicles, infrastructure and road users have sadly become an all too familiar part of their playbook.
The City calls on anyone with information about the instigators behind these attacks and disruptions, to please report it to the City’s toll-free tip off line, so that they can be prosecuted.
Smith says tips can be shared anonymously, and the City also offers rewards of up to R5000 for credible information that leads to arrests or convictions. The number to dial is 0800 110077.
If residents witness incident that requires an emergency response, call the Public Emergency Communication Centre on 021 480 7700.
Thousands of commuters were left stranded yesterday afternoon, scrambling to get alternative transport and waiting for hours for buses and trains.
The City of Cape Town is far from perfect, but we can be critical of the city BUT ALSO recognize that taxi operators are holding the city hostage and they can't keep doing this kind of stuff whenever they don't get their way. It's intimidation and terrorism. #TaxiStrike pic.twitter.com/aA2QHfzmsO
— SUPERINFORMATIVE on TikTok (@i_likebrandon) August 4, 2023
Desperate scene at Cape Town bus station.
— GroundUp (@GroundUp_News) August 3, 2023