Home News Taxi chaos will be resolved by Monday – Sol

Taxi chaos will be resolved by Monday – Sol

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The strain and frustration being experienced by businesses in South Circular Road in Kimberley due to taxis using the street as a parking area is expected to be a thing of the past by Monday.

Sol Plaatje Municipality workers fixing the roof of the men’s toilets at the Indian Centre. Picture: Soraya Crowie

THE STRAIN and frustration being experienced by businesses in South Circular Road in Kimberley due to taxis using the street as a parking area is expected to be a thing of the past by Monday.

Traffic and business operations in South Circular Road were disrupted this week when taxis from the closed Bultfontein Taxi Rank used the street as a parking area after they refused to relocate to the Indian Centre following an agreement with the Sol Plaatje Municipality.

ALSO READ: Taxi parking chaos disrupts business

Local businesses in the area said they had to cancel their deliveries to clients as it was impossible for vehicles to gain access to and from their premises as scores of taxis were parked in front of their businesses.

They added that their clients had to park a block away and then walk to their businesses.

The Kimberley Local Taxi Association (KLTA) indicated earlier this week that the agreement with the municipality on the relocation to the Indian Centre was grounded on the promise that the local authority would conduct maintenance work at the centre.

The decoding secretary for KLTA, Bongi Dike, said they had no choice but to make use of South Circular Road as the municipality did not adhere to the terms of the agreement.

ALSO READ: Bultfontein taxi rank closed

Dike said that in terms of the agreement, the ablution facilities at the Indian Centre, which have been non-operational for some years, would be fixed or replaced; electricity would be connected to the toilet facilities and the taxi rank; and some basic maintenance work would be conducted on the dilapidated infrastructure at the centre.

“We had a meeting with the municipality, De Beers and the local traffic manager on October 18 regarding the relocation. We agreed to relocate to the Indian Centre after we were informed that there were some cracks that stretched from the Big Hole to the Bultfontein Taxi Rank,” said Dike.

“We, however, told the municipality, in the presence of De Beers and the local traffic officials, that we needed some maintenance work to be done at the Indian Centre before we could relocate.

“Currently, the toilet facilities at the Indian Centre are not in proper working condition. We have almost 1,000 taxis that have to relocate to the Indian Centre. There is also no electricity and no basic maintenance has been done at the premises, which facilities will our members be forced to use?

“The municipality has since the day of the agreement failed to carry out any of those tasks.

“We know that taxi drivers and taxi owners are labelled as ‘hooligans’, but we refuse to relocate to a premises that is not suitable for any human. That would be insane. The municipality would fail to attend to any of the terms agreed upon should we decide to adhere to the relocation.

“We will only move once those areas have been fixed,” insisted Dike.

Municipal workers were hard at work cleaning the premises at the Indian Centre and removing heaps of rubble from the taxi rank from Monday this week.

By Wednesday, the taxi rank was abuzz with municipal workers who were painting the ablution building, restoring the roof of the men’s toilets, which was totally removed, replacing broken toilets and restoring the water supply to the premises.

Small businesses operating at the Indian Centre said they were pleased with the upgrading of the premises but were uncertain how their businesses would be affected once the taxis started making use of the rank.

A foreign national who owns a store at the rank said there is no clear communication on where his vehicles will be parked.

“I have trucks that have to offload stock on almost a daily basis. I do not know where I will park my truck or even how I will offload the stock,” said the business owner.

“We are happy that the municipality is cleaning the place and that there will be more people coming here, which will be good for our businesses, but there will be some challenging issues.

“We have heard that the taxis will be using the lanes in front of our shops. We do not have a problem with that, but we are not completely sure where we will then have to park our vehicles.”

The newly-appointed Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson, Thabo Mothibi, said the problem in South Circular Road would be resolved by Monday.

“We are busy with extensive rehabilitation work that is being undertaken at the Indian Centre,” said Mothibi.

“We are fixing the ablution facilities and some of the work includes installing new basins and toilets. A flood light will also be erected on both sides of the Indian Centre to ensure that there is sufficient lighting on the premises. Workers are also painting the steel rails and paving is being fixed at the exit area.

“This is urgent work we had to carry out in order to ensure that taxis relocate by Monday and Tuesday. The local businesses at the taxi rank have also given the relocation a double thumbs-up and said that there will be more customers for their businesses.

“The premises will be able to accommodate all the taxis and there is constant communication between the municipality, the association and business to ensure that the entire process is carried out smoothly.”

Mothibi commended the businesses in South Circular Road for their patience.

“We had no violent disruption as we attended to this matter this week. The businesses in South Circular Road were very patient, even though they were placed under strain.

“We have placed traffic officials on site to ensure the easy flow of traffic in that street. Traffic will be on site over the weekend as well to assist motorists and taxis. However, by Monday this problem should be resolved because we will be working around the clock this weekend,” Mothibi concluded.

Sol Plaatje Municipality workers fixing the men’s toilets at the Indian Centre. Picture: Soraya Crowie

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