Cape Town hesitates, but still no deal


No agreement has yet been reached between the Western Cape government and the leadership of the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) regarding the ongoing taxi strike.

This follows after Alan Winde, the Western Cape premier, called a special provincial cabinet meeting about the strike with key leaders of the city on Monday morning. The Western Cape government has been trying to negotiate with Santaco since Thursday.

The provincial cabinet will henceforth meet daily on the matter.

“I am angry that because of the strike residents could not get to their families or to work, school, shops, clinics and other important institutions. Numerous government services, including health and social development, are having to close facilities and are unable to provide urgently needed services to our communities.

“Our school system is also affected. This is not acceptable,” said Winde.

Although Santaco called on all taxi operators on Sunday not to act violently, violence and the destruction of infrastructure were the order of the day on Monday. At least one death has already been reported.

“Santaco’s leadership must ensure that the violence accompanying the strike is stopped immediately. The ongoing violence makes it very difficult for negotiations to continue. We want to bring all stakeholders back to the negotiating table, but it must be in a calm space.

“We must also not allow this issue to be politicized, because that will only complicate things further.”

The Western Cape government together with the City of Cape Town intends to take legal action to stop the violence in the city.

Golden Arrow bus service obtained an interdict in the Cape Town High Court against Santaco on Sunday. The interdict prevents the association from intimidating, harassing, threatening or committing violence against any employee of the bus service.

Police officers are currently on high alert along with the City of Cape Town’s metro police, as well as other law enforcement officers and traffic services across the city. Additional forces, including air support, have been dispatched to various areas where traffic congestion and other incidents have been reported due to the ongoing strike.

Thousands of commuters and residents as well as some of the city’s services were affected by the strike on Monday morning. Attacks on other public transport operators, such as bus services, as well as the blocking of major and important routes, continue.

This follows Saturday evening’s arson attacks in Delft, Khayelitsha and Nyanga where a total of 12 vehicles belonging to the metro council were set on fire.

Rob Quintas, the city’s mayoral committee member for urban mobility, says the city wants to inform residents that facilities in high-risk areas will remain closed in the interests of the safety and security of staff, and to prevent vandalism and attacks on the infrastructure.

“It is absolutely tragic that the lives of thousands of households are turned upside down and people cannot even go to school or work. There can be no discussion or negotiations as long as the violence and intimidation continue,” says Quintas.

Strike also now in Knysna

The taxi strike has now also spread to Knysna, with the N2 highway blocked by taxis from Lamco to Knysna’s central business district.

Aubrey Tsengwa, executive mayor of Knysna, assured residents that the municipality is trying to negotiate with local taxi associations to ensure that the strike does not hinder service delivery and negatively affect the most vulnerable residents.

“Delivering essential services is one of our top priorities, and we are committed to ensuring the well-being and comfort of our residents. However, due to the unforeseen nature of the taxi strike, our ability to provide seamless services has been compromised,” says Tsengwa.

“The strike has affected the transport and availability of our workforce, especially those responsible for the maintenance of water and sanitation systems, road repairs, electrical services and garbage disposal.

“Our teams are coordinating their efforts to resolve the issues as soon as possible. We are actively monitoring the situation and implementing contingency plans to minimize the impact on our community. Our law enforcement officers and traffic officers provide support to the national security cluster in carrying out the functionality of the police.”

Read the previous reports about the taxi strike here.