The City of Cape Town is pleased that the destructive taxi strike has come to an end. We appreciate the constructive approach taken by minibus taxi association Santaco today.
“It bears noting that Santaco today accepted the same proposal that the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government originally put on the table last Friday,” said Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.
“The tragic implication is that all of the violence, the deplorable loss of life, and the damage to property and to our local economy – was for naught. Last Friday, everything agreed to today was on the table, when the strike was less than 24 hours old, and could have been stopped then.”
The details of the agreement are:
- Impoundments under the National Land Transportation Act (NLTA) will continue for vehicles driving without an operating license, or on the incorrect route, or without a driver’s license, or which are not roadworthy.
- We have agreed that the Taxi Task Team will further define a list, within 14 days, of additional major offences in terms of which vehicles will continue to be impounded in future. This will take the form of an Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to guide enforcement staff on the exercise of the discretionary power provided for in the NLTA.
- Our focus in the task team will be to ensure that all traffic offences which impact on commuter safety remain as major offences. Road safety for commuters and other road users is a non-negotiable, a position the City has not budged on.
- The Task Team will similarly compile an agreed-upon list of minor offences, which do not have commuter safety implications, and which will not be impoundable. The City continues to believe it will be able to demonstrate to Santaco that we have already been following this distinction for some time.
Importantly, if Santaco believes that any of their taxis have been impounded for these minor offences, then they can produce the relevant impoundment notices and the City will then make representations to the Public Prosecutor to support the release of these vehicles.
We have also made two important improvements for the future.
- Santaco has agreed that never again will they call a strike during the middle of a working day, and that they will always give at least 36 hours’ notice ahead of planned strike action. We should never again see a repeat of thousands of people being forced to walk home.
- Secondly, before calling strike action, the Task Team will now have a dispute escalation and resolution clause, to escalate disputes directly to the Premier and Mayor before a strike action will be considered
The entire agreement is there being no future resumption of taxi-related violence. Any resumption of taxi violence will nullify the agreement.
We hope this sends a clear message to South Africa: violence will get us nowhere. Laws can only be changed through democratic processes.
“While I deplore the impact of this entirely unnecessary strike, Cape Town has set an important precedent for South Africa’s future. By steadfastly refusing to capitulate before violence and anarchy, Cape Town has not conceded an inch on our commitment to the rule of law,” says Hill-Lewis.
“The message is clear: in Cape Town, the laws of this country apply equally to everyone and violence will not extract concessions from this government.”
“My thoughts are with our communities who bore the brunt of this and I want to assure them that we will continue to fight for the safety of them and their loved ones as they travel around our city.”