Stakeholders in the transport sector have welcomed the establishment of the intervention task team in the North West aimed at resolving challenges in the sector. The North West Public Transport Intervention Team is tasked with the responsibility to deal with challenges facing public transport.

The team comprises two former mayors and two former MECs. The team will be led by the former MEC Star Vilakazi.

The team also comprises of 12 members from four districts within the province.

They will play the role of mediators in relation to the resolution of conflicts within the public transport industry. One of the other tasks will also be a probe into the root cause of taxi violence in the province.

Taxi association SANTACO and the South African National Small Bus Operators Council say this will clear confusion over routes that often cause conflicts. SANTACO provincial chairperson Serame Sebego says the intervention has come at the right time.

“The intervention comes at the right time because the taxi industry, specifically if I may say, there is a lot of conflict amongst the association members. And we not getting any joy from the department itself because of the limited resources so we had some meetings with the MEC to say we need people who will specifically be looking at addressing the challenges that the taxi industry is facing.”

North West taxi operators prepare for a new way of operating:

The provincial chairperson for the South African National Small Bus Operators Council, Final Kgodumo, says they hope the team will help stabilise the public transport sector.

“We have also raised our concern. There have been some cases that we have reported already, where our members from the bus industry were intimidated by the taxi industry. We are experiencing some challenges of bus operators when they go beyond the borders of the province, also being harassed by some law enforcement. They believe that this team will be able to intervene in order that no life is going to be lost in this process because the safety environment will ensure commuters will be able to be safe wherever they are and they will be complemented between the taxi and the bus sector.”

The MEC for the Department of Community Safety and Transport Management, Sello Lehari, says they hope to resolve all outstanding issues in the transport sector through this task team.

“We came to the conclusion of appointing what we call North West Public Transport intervention team, because of long outstanding challenges or issues affecting the taxi industry in the province. Where a lot of conflict for routes, conflict for operation on the routes, their illegal operation on routes there are a lot of issues that need to be attended to by government, hence as government we have to find solutions to these challenges.”

The intervention team has been given two years to turn things around in the transport sector.