Soweto taxi associations remain at odds‚ suspension might be extended
Soweto taxi owners affiliated to Witwatersrand African Taxi Association (Wata) and Nancefield-Dube West Taxi Association (Nanduwe) face the possibility of a prolonged loss of profits.
The MEC for Roads and Transport Ismail Vadi intends to extend the suspension of services operated by both associations for another three months.
Vadi initially suspended five taxi ranks and routes affiliated to these associations from July 13 over ongoing incidents of violence and intimidation.
The suspension was meant to be lifted on August 13 if associations committed to certain requirements meant to bring peace and stability in their area of business.
According to the department‚ both associations have not reached a peaceful consensus hence their services may be barred till November.
"I wish the MEC can implement another strategy because the taxi business is our only source of income. Our lives depend on it.
"We struggled to provide for our families this month. Increasing the suspension means more suffering for many owners‚ drivers and commuters‚" said taxi owner Sibusiso Maseko.
Even though the taxi owner disagrees with the suspension‚ he acknowledges that clashes between associations must end because many lives have been lost.
Police visibility has been increased along targeted routes to ensure public safety.
Prior to the July suspension‚ several cases of murder and assault linked to taxi clashes were reported to Soweto police.
Some commuters and bystanders‚ like 21-year-old Mokgethi Moroke who was shot and killed in Meadowlands on July 9‚ have been caught in the crossfire.
Commuters fearing for their lives have switched to other modes of public transport and have had to adjust to different travelling costs.
"I am undecided about this taxi issue. A part of me supports the decision to suspend services because it might put an end to taxi violence.
"But the suspension has forced me to spend more on my transport budget. Now I am using a bus to travel to work and it costs more than the taxi.
"I have reduced on entertainment to make sure I have enough money to travel to work‚" said taxi commuter Nikiwe Mahlangu.
Department of Transport and Roads media liaison officer Malitah Madiba said the MEC will make a pronouncement this week on whether Wata and Nanduwe's suspension will be lifted or extended.
Soweto areas covered by these taxi associations are Zola‚ Jabavu‚ Orlando‚ Dube‚ Mofolo‚ Nancefield and Emndeni.