The disruptions took place while the department was hosting the Provincial Taxi Lekgotla, which was attended by the Deputy Minister of Transport, Dikeledi Magadzi
THE SITUATION is back to normal as city commuters were ferried to their destinations by taxis on Thursday following Wednesday’s disruptions when the Kimberley Local Taxi Association (KLTA) and the Thusano Taxi Association clashed over routes.
This is after an intervention meeting between the KLTA and Thusano at the Northern Cape Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison’s offices, where the department promised to look into the grievances raised by the taxi operators.
The disruptions took place while the department was hosting the Provincial Taxi Lekgotla, which was attended by the Deputy Minister of Transport, Dikeledi Magadzi.
The KLTA is accused of forcing its way onto the Kasi-Mall routes, which it is reportedly not authorised to work.
It is believed that the association members also tried to garner the attention of the deputy minister as they raised concerns over routes and government subsidies.
On Wednesday morning, a number of city commuters were left traumatised after being forcefully removed from taxis at the robots near the Galeshewe Day Hospital. They were forced to walk to town.
All taxi routes were later suspended and empty taxis were seen “patrolling” in convoys through the city and in Galeshewe.
A confrontation ensued at the Galeshewe Circle in the afternoon after some of the taxis were caught ferrying commuters.
The situation was resolved by law enforcement officials.
The Northern Cape Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison yesterday confirmed the meeting, which was described as an effort to resolve issues of mutual concern between the KLTA and Thusano.
Department communications officer Rennie Andrias said an agreement was reached that the department would investigate allegations that the rival associations were operating on each other’s routes.
He indicated that each operating licence is linked to a specific route.
The department also promised to probe further allegations by the operators that illegal operating licences (permits) have been issued.
Adrias said that the department would avail a report on the matter at the end of November.
“We will establish a law enforcement team that will ensure compliance with the law. The team will consist of provincial Traffic Services, Sol Plaatje Local Municipality Traffic and the South African Police Service,” said Adrias.
The department condemned the intimidation, disruption and violence related to the dispute.
The Thusano Taxi Association yesterday apologised to commuters for the disruptions, and said they are open for engagements with other associations.
The association’s vice chairperson, Boitumelo Mocwana, condemned the disruptions and said that they have the safety of the commuters at heart.
Mocwana urged commuters who feel threatened or intimidated to take the taxi registration number and to report any wrongdoing to the association.
Efforts to get comment from the KLTA were unsuccessful as the relevant operator’s phone remained unanswered.