Al Jamah ah suggests legislation to control taxi industry at national level

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Al Jama ah says it’s planning to table a private members bill for the taxi industry to be regulated at national level.  It says a national structure to regulate the taxi industry is needed urgently.  The party says the recent dispute between the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) and the City of Cape Town is evidence that intergovernmental efforts to regulate the industry are not working.

The taxi strike that gripped the Mother City was sparked when the City’s traffic officials used a new by-law and the National Land Transport Act, to impound taxis for various offences. Thousands of commuters, learners and residents bore the brunt of the protests. Talks between the National Transport Department, the provincial government, SANTACO and the City of Cape Town deadlocked before an agreement was finally reached on Thursday.

“Al Jama ah feels that it is urgent to have a national structure to regulate the taxi industry and the regulation must be expedited. So, the party is going to table a private members bill in this regard. And we hope that the private members bill will also gain support of Cabinet, like Al Jama ah got support for its other private members bills, so that the matter can be expedited. Now that the Minister has shown an appetite for a national structure to govern the taxi industry as we can no longer rely on co-operation from municipalities and provinces especially in the Western Cape,” says Al Jama ah leader Ganief Hendricks.

Relief as SANTACO calls off taxi strike in Western Cape:

Collective responsibility

The end of the strike was also welcomed by some political parties. The Congress of the People (COPE) says while it welcomes the taxi council’s move to call off the strike, there should also be collective responsibility taken for the mayhem during the strike.

COPE National Spokesperson Dennis Bloem says, “The Western Cape government, the municipality and the taxi organisation SANTACO must take collective responsibility for the loss of innocent lives and millions of rands, damages during these senseless seven days taxi strike. It is totally unacceptable that the ordinary people must be punished. Workers, school children went through seven days of hell. Their lives were disrupted, all this happened because of people put their own interest above the interest of the people that they are supposed to serve.”

SANTACO refuses to take responsibility for violence during taxi strike:

“It is also totally unacceptable President Cyril Ramaphosa must go underground when the country is burning. The country expects better from him. We are happy that life will go back to normal for the people of the Western Cape,” Bloem adds.

United Democratic Movement (UDM) Chief Whip Nqabayomzi Kwankwa also welcomed SANTACO’s decision to call off the strike.

” We are delighted that the taxi strike has been resolved. However, for the stability of the province and for the safety of the residents of the City of Cape Town. I think it’s important that a durable solution is found to the problems and challenges facing the taxi industry and to the concerns of the City of Cape Town, because we cannot afford as residents of the City of Cape Town, especially our ordinary people in the townships were most affected by the strike.”

Kankwa adds, ” We cannot afford to have this annual flare-up of violence and strike, and blockages on our roads. We need leadership for the residents of the City of Cape Town, the people of the Western Cape and the people of the Republic of South Africa as a whole, because it’s easy to start a strike in one area and then before you know it, you have solidarity strikes taking place all over the country.”

Meanwhile, Anglican Archbishop of Southern African Thabo Makgoba says he hopes that lessons will be learnt from the taxi strike on how to resolve conflict in future. Makgoba has welcomed the outcome. This also comes after an interfaith prayer service for peace was held at the St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town on Women’s Day. Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis and SANTACO Western Cape Chairperson Mandla Hermanus were among those who attended the prayer service that was led by Makgoba. The Anglican Archbishop says it’s good news that the strike is over.

” I take my hat off on behalf of the religious communities for the leaders of SANTACO of the Western Cape and of the City that they were able to be mature and have the interest of the people, the safety of commuters and the safety of the City in mind in arriving at the compromises they have arrived at and the decision they have arrived at.”

“And it is my prayer from this particular strike we may learn how to deal with possible conflicts in the future. Once again my deepest condolences to those who have lost their loved ones, and may their souls rest in peace and rise in glory”, Makgoba concluded.

Interfaith prayers for taxi strike: