Court awards Gauteng government an interdict to quell taxi war
The Gauteng roads and transport department has obtained an order interdicting violence between the Witwatersrand African Taxi Owners Association (Wata) and the Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association (Nanduwe).
This comes after years of conflict between the associations over city routes. On Saturday the associations clashed again, leaving six taxis badly damaged after being torched in the city CBD.
According to the Johannesburg High Court interdict, the “chairpersons of both associations and their members are interdicted from preventing, obstructing or otherwise interfering with the rights of taxi operators and/or any public transport operators to operate their transport businesses between Soweto and Johannesburg CBD.”
A meeting was held between the organisations and Gauteng transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo on Sunday.
According to a statement on Monday, the parties committed to ceasing hostilities and to ensuring transport services between Soweto and the Johannesburg CBD continue safely without endangering the lives of commuters.
The court interdict also prevents the associations from intimidating and committing or threatening to commit acts of violence against any public transport operator, their agents or employees and members of the public who make use of or who want to use bus services between Soweto and the Johannesburg CBD.
The interdict empowers the police and the Gauteng department of community safety to take necessary steps to ensure the associations comply with the court order.
Mamabolo said: “While in our view the situation has returned to normality, we urge law enforcement to enforce the law, hold criminals accountable and secure the safety of commuters and other road users.
“We held positive consultations with both the leadership of Wata and Nanduwe together with their mother body structures, the Gauteng National Taxi Alliance (GNTA) and the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco), respectively, and we are buoyed by the fact that all parties have condemned the violence and committed to peace.
“We are pleased that all parties involved have agreed to urgently address the root cause of the violence, which are disputes over routes. In this regard, the platforms for negotiations we have created as the provincial government remain available.
“The department remains steadfast in its programme of modernising and corporatising the taxi industry for it to be a competitive, safe and reliable mode of public transport.
“We believe problems in the industry are not insurmountable and that through negotiation and consultation, we will create a taxi industry of the future.”
The MEC and taxi associations agreed to further negotiations during the week.