The South African National Taxi Association (Santaco) in the Eastern Cape says the unrest in the country in the past weeks has brought unity amongst the taxi associations in the province.
Taxi operators in the Eastern Cape came together and averted possible lootings in the Nelson Mandela Bay region, during unrest that brought everything to a standstill last week in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces as businesses were looted and property destructed.
The taxi operators were applauded for their stand, with some South Africans saying their action showed the other side of the industry they didn’t know existed.
In South Africa, taxi operators are perceived as people who have no respect for road regulations and are known for infighting within associations over routes leading to loss of life.
Provincial Santaco secretary, Mthuthuzeli Madwara, says the unrest has given the industry new perspective in solving differences without involving violence.
Madwara says many people have lost lives due to infighting in the taxi industry over the years. He says although there are ongoing challenges, they are trying to solve them in an amicable manner.

“We were fighting a lot, we manage to sit down and find one another and say to ourselves guys we are losing every day by fighting because of the routes and other things. So we said to ourselves we are sick and tired of this thing, we don’t want anything that is going to stop our vehicles. That is why we said no looting because our vehicles are repossessed now and then because of the pandemic,” adds the Eastern Cape Santaco secretary.

The Eastern Cape province has over 90 taxi associations. According to Santaco. if the looting had taken place, the industry could have suffered a daily loss of half-million rand.

Taxi driver Siyabonga Ndaba says some of the targeted malls are close to taxi ranks, hence they took a decisions to prevent the looting.

“One it will take the business away from us because if we cannot carry passengers, then there will be no one in town. But the Looting is the thing that we were against . So we trying to urge everyone in the Metro that to stay away from the looting.”

Meanwhile, two taxi bosses were fatally shot in two separate incidents this past weekend in Gqeberha and East London. The cause of the incidents is unknown, but police are investigating.

Police, SANDF conclude operation to recover goods looted in recent unrest in KZN: