The City of Cape Town and the Provincial Government of the Western Cape strongly condemn the violence and intimidation associated with the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) strike. While the City and Provincial Government respect the right of the industry to protest, any acts of violence or intimidation will not be tolerated.
This morning violence and intimidation was reported in the metro with flashpoints in the Crossroads, Nyanga and Mfuleni areas particularly.
Tragically, early this morning a bread-delivery truck was set alight in the Crossroads area at approximately 05:00. A passenger in the vehicle was injured and later died from his injuries. The ambulance dispatched to assist the injured person was stoned en route as well. The South African Police Services (SAPS) have reported the arrest of two persons and have opened a murder docket.
Two bus drivers and seven members of the public were injured this morning when their buses were stoned. None of the injuries are fatal and all the injured have been treated.
Due to increased violence and intimidation Golden Arrow Bus Services are collecting commuters from Borcherds Quarry and Mfuleni Circle, where SAPS and law enforcement officers are maintaining a strong presence.
There will also be an increased presence of law enforcement officers at major transport interchanges and on major routes to protect commuters this afternoon as commuters travel home. Any incidents such as violence or intimidation as a result of the strike can be reported to the City's Metro Control Centre on 0215961999.
"During this period, the City has a responsibility to protect the rights of commuters travelling to work and back, to ensure a safe environment and to maintain a functional city economy. We cannot allow any violence and intimidation to result in loss of life or disruption in service delivery and the City of Cape Town will provide additional law enforcement staff to assist the SAPS," said the City's Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Roads and Major Projects, Councillor Elizabeth Thompson.
"In my meetings with SANTACO leading up to the strike, in my letter to their chairperson and my final call to him at 19:00 last night, I made two points:
- There was no longer any purpose for the strike and they made no demands in their letter to me so there were no demands I could meet even if I wanted to. It is therefore a strike without purpose, a strike without demands.
- Far more seriously, I warned on every occasion that a taxi strike would lead to serious violence. I was assured that this wouldn’t happen,"
said MEC for Transport and Public Works Mr Robin Carlisle.
"Sadly, just as I warned, there has been violence. There has been massive intimidation of the bulk of the industry who are opposing the strike. In the end, this strike is about a power struggle within the leadership of SANTACO. It is the last kick of the old warlords and their representatives on the current SANTACO executive."
"Those opposed to a strike have called for a full council meeting of SANTACO this afternoon in Athlone. My position is clear. I want to see the strike ended, but only SANTACO can end it. Before the strike, SANTACO, City and Province set up a joint task team to ensure a better future for the mini-bus taxi industry. The task force is the only way forward. I call on SANTACO to return to the task team," said Carlisle.
The City and Provincial Government will continue to meet with a range of transport and business stakeholders to manage and alleviate the impact of the strike. Reports this morning suggested that absenteeism levels as a result of the strike were low and that the majority of staff were able to reach work. Employers are encouraged to allow for flexi-time during this difficult period so that employees can miss the peak period congestion by coming in early and leaving early or coming in late and leaving late.
Further information about public transport options can be obtained from the City's Transport Information Centre, toll-free on 0800656463.
COMMUNICATION DEPARTMENT, CITY OF CAPE TOWN
CITY OF CAPE TOWN
TEL: 0214004684 CELL: 0828744605
MEDIA LIAISON OFFICER: MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT AND PUBLIC WORKS PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OF THE WESTERN CAPE