Taxi protests which caused a gridlock on some of the South Peninsula roads in Cape Town this morning reportedly stemmed from a dispute over local route allocations. The protest action by groups of drivers blocked off roads in the Tokai, Westlake, Lakeside, and Steenberg areas.
Richard Bosman, Executive Director for the City of Cape Town Safety and Security, told CapeTalk's Africa Melane that there is conflict between local taxi associations and that the transportation board, which issues the route permits, will need to mediate the on-going dispute.
There's an issue about a dispute on the routes. These routes are related to the Steenberg and Retreat area and the protest is by local taxi associations who do not want Khayelitsha taxis to operate as far as those routes.
The disruption at the circle of Tokai Road was the first to be cleared and the taxi drivers were moved into the parking lot area of a nearby shopping center. Authorities then cleared the demonstrations at the intersection of Westlake Drive and Steenberg Road.
Eyewitness accounts suggest that the taxi drivers were burning tyres and carrying sjamboks as a part of their demonstration. Bosman says this is the first time the conflict has escalated to this point.
The need for dispute resolution
Mayoral Committee Member for Transport Brett Herron told Africa Melane that he was disappointed by the taxi demonstration on Monday 13 April. This is primarily because in October last year the City of Cape Town established a minibus taxi working group to deal with issues and conflict.
Herron says the objective of the forum was to meet on a monthly basis with the taxi leadership of all regions operating in Cape Town, to raise operational issues and to work out a new model for taxi industry in Cape Town. However, the matter of route disputes was never raised by any of the local associations.
The Westlake Taxi Association is proposing that Khayelitsha taxis drop commuters when they enter their route, so that they can board their taxis. But this proposition has financial implications for the commuters.
To reduce travel costs and travel time we need to put into place integrated transport; and part of that is the minibus taxis - how they operate and the route they operate on.
Listen to the full conversation with Africa Melane below: