The multi-week dispute, which left many without a way to get to work, school or university, has finally called to a close in the Western Cape taxi hub.
By Imaan Voterson (News Editor)
A severe dispute between two taxi associations – the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Association (CODETA) – brought the end of many lives due to the violence that unfolded. Many businesses suffered and left commuters deserted, as well as jobless.
CATA and CODETA had disagreed over the authority of the B97 route between Bellville and Paarl. According to News24, neither of the two associations affiliated taxis operated in Bellville, Wynberg, Mitchells Plain, or the Athlone public transport interchange.
After weeks of violence and fear among those who rely on public transport as a means to get to work, a ceasefire was called. As of the first week of August, taxi operations have continued, according to Western Cape Transport Minister, Daylin Mitchell.
“A week of relative calm and peaceful operations at the interchange and on routes, it was agreed that all CATA and CODETA affiliated associations would return to service and that operators will conduct their services with due regard to the rule of law and the safety of the public,” Mitchell said. The situation was well observed and the Department of Transport and Public Works are satisfied with the way the taxis are operating and following the agreement.
Although taxis began operating as per usual during the first week of August, only a few loading lanes at the Bellville public transport interchange were reopened and the Paarl loading lanes remained closed.
Despite taxis operating again, many commuters have been left jobless and uneasy at the use of minibus taxis as a mode of transport due to the violence.
“I am disappointed that the commuter must suffer at the hands of a few,” Mitchell said in a media briefing, according to News24.
A commuter who was affected by the taxi wars states: “My boss was not very understanding of my circumstances and the taxi violence. He said that I should have found another mode of transport to get to work. I never got paid the days I couldn’t go to work and it was difficult for me because I depended on that pay every day. To use the taxis again makes me feel very uneasy because of the violence and many lives were put in danger.”
At the same time that the taxi violence occurred, the Western Cape was coming off its peak of the third wave, according to Western Cape health department head Dr Keith Cloete. Due to this unfortunate timing, there is a possibility that the taxi violence has resulted in a backlog of cases, as some commuters were unable to get to testing centres.