Violent feuds in public transport: Retired judge steps into hot seat
Gauteng public transport and roads infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo has appointed retired judge Jeremiah Shongwe to head the provincial public transport arbitration office.
This follows the MEC’s publication of regulations to establish the public transport arbitration office as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism within the public transport services industry after incidents of violence and disruptions in the sector.
Mamabolo said the public transport industry has been plagued by violence for many years. He was confident the appointment of the arbitration judge will help minimise conflict.
“The appointment of the judge as public transport arbitrator is illustrative of the provincial government’s commitment to bringing stability in the public transport sector, especially the minibus taxi industry,” he said.
Mamabolo said the appointment signifies government’s efforts to modernise the minibus taxi industry through the introduction of innovative ways to resolve disputes within the sector.
The establishment of the arbitration office is the culmination of consultations with stakeholders in the public transport industry
The establishment of the arbitration office is the culmination of consultations with stakeholders in the public transport industry following the Gauteng Taxi Industry Summit in Emfuleni municipality in July 2019.
The summit was convened by Mamabolo for the purpose of engaging with the minibus taxi industry to collectively address operational public transport issues.
Shongwe was appointed to chair a commission of inquiry to investigate factors that contributed to the conflicts, fatalities and violence in the taxi industry. Last year he presented his report. Among the recommendations was corporatisation of entities operating routes instead of individuals, and individual operators becoming shareholders in the entities.
Shongwe's judicial experience includes being a high court judge, deputy judge president in Gauteng, sitting as a judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal and serving in the Electoral Commission.
The arbitration office will be responsible for arbitrating disputes and issuing arbitration awards to the affected parties. The awards will be binding and enforceable by law enforcement agencies.
Mamabolo also welcomed the secondment of the Gauteng public transport intervention unit from the department of community safety to his department, as recommended by the commission of inquiry into taxi violence.
“We welcome the secondment of the law enforcement unit to assist us with enforcing arbitration awards and addressing public transport-related issues,” he said.
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