National legislation, not by-laws, governs taxi strike enforcement actions

Issued by Dr Chris Hunsinger MP – DA Shadow Minister of Transport
04 Aug 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached Afrikaans and English soundbite by Dr Chris Hunsinger MP.

The DA stands in full agreement with the City of Cape Town amidst the ongoing taxi strike led by the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO).

It is essential to emphasise that enforcement measures, including the impounding of vehicles, are conducted under the stipulations of the National Land Transport Act (NLTA). This matter falls under the jurisdiction of national legislation and is not a local legislative issue. Misleading narratives presented by opportunistic politicians not only misinform the public but also undermine the lawful actions taken by the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government.

Our commitment is unwavering to upholding the rule of law, and the DA, in unity with the City and Western Cape Government, strongly condemns the acts of public violence that have marred this strike. Our primary loyalty lies with the safety and rights of commuters.

The gravity of the situation has been further complicated by political machinations that have done more to exacerbate than alleviate the situation. In particular, the presence of the National Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, at the meeting during which the strike was called, raises grave concerns. Given his lack of constitutional responsibility over transport, his attendance at the meeting, knowing it could lead to public violence, is not only inappropriate but also appears to be driven by political opportunism and the ANC’s desperation.

As the taxi industry strike continues, its impacts reverberate through our communities and underscore the urgent need for devolution in the transport sector. We firmly believe that granting more direct control to local governments, like the DA-led City of Cape Town, to ensure consumer safety and improve service delivery in public transport, would enable better management and minimization of such crisis impacts. The current National Land Transport Act, being a national legislation, often restricts the ability of local governments to respond swiftly and efficiently to transport crises.

The DA calls upon all involved taxi associations to prioritise the interests of commuters, ensuring that individuals, regardless of their income or location, have equal access to quality transport.

To ensure transparency, I personally intend to inspect the impounded vehicles and verify the reasons for their impoundment. I extend an invitation to my colleagues from the National Transport Portfolio Committee, Minister of Transport Chikunga, and Minister of Police Bheki Cele, to join me in this inspection.

The DA stands firmly behind the actions taken by the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government. We remain confident that all actions are in full compliance with national legislation and are in the best interests of commuters. We will continue to advocate for the devolution of control over services to better protect our commuters, effectively manage our public transport sector, and prevent the escalation of such strikes in the future.

While the ANC chooses political expediency, the DA supports enforcement of the law without fear or favour at all times.

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