With a planned stay-away looming in the taxi industry for next week, the City of Cape Town has defended itself against allegations made by the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco).
Also read: Western Cape’s SA Taxi Council to stage a stay-away on 22 February
This comes after Santaco Western Cape chairperson Mandla Hermanus stated that one of the reasons for the mass action was the unfair impoundment of minibus taxis for minor traffic violations by drivers.
Another was the issuing of operating licences, leaving the taxi industry feeling marginalised.
Recently, the CoCT lifted a moratorium on metered taxi operating licences, which Hermanus believes would result in more than 2,000 new operating licences for e-hailing providers.
“On the other hand, there is going to be a five-year moratorium on minibus taxi operating licences without first legalising all current illegal operators,” Hermanus said.
Meanwhile, Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Mobility Rob Quintas dismissed the claims that Santaco was being targeted by the City of Cape Town.
“This is an attempt by some of those in the industry to establish a regime where they can operate with impunity,” he said. “Of great concern also are attempts to undermine, threaten and prevent other public transport service providers from operating in certain areas in Cape Town.”
“I want to make it very clear to Santaco: no single stakeholder has a monopoly over public transport in Cape Town.”
“Further, we will not be intimidated or discouraged from acting against those who are driving around without driver’s licences and transporting commuters in vehicles that are unlicensed and not roadworthy.”
Quintas added that the National Land Transport Act (NLTA) applied to all public transport operators in the country and that all operators must be in possession of a legal public transport operating licence.
“Those operating without a legal public transport operating licence are liable for a fine, and are at risk of having their vehicles impounded – whether they are operating illegally in Cape Town, Joburg, Tshwane, or any other town or city in the country.”
“The City of Cape Town enforces the provisions of the NLTA without fear or favour.”
“Our Traffic By-law of 2021 makes provision for the impoundment of vehicles and we will keep on doing what we have to do to ensure that commuters are transported in roadworthy vehicles, by operators who have legal operating licences – be the operator a minibus taxi, a metered taxi, or any other public transport service provider,” Quintas said.
“Those operators who are operating legally, and comply with the rules of the road do not have to fear fines or impoundments, but those who are violating the law will be caught and fined.”
“The best solution is for Santaco to get its house in order, and to ensure its members comply with the traffic rules and the NLTA. It is in the interest of the safety of commuters and drivers that the City keeps on enforcing the Traffic By-law without fear or favour,” Quintas said.
“The lifting of the moratorium on new applications for metered-taxi services is based on a demand method that confirmed that there is a need for this specific service – namely, metered-taxi services and that more operating licences should be made available to operate.”
“As such, the City advised the Western Cape Provincial Regulatory Entity that the moratorium may be lifted,” he added.