No end in sight to Cape Town taxi strike

There appears to be no end sight to the taxi strike in Cape Town, which has left many commuters stranded. Taxi operators are demanding a pre-election conference, ahead of the taxi mother body, South African National Taxi Council ‘s regional conference later this month.

It has been a difficult Monday for some commuters, with many taxi drivers refusing to take to the roads. Leadership problems within the national mother body, Santaco, have reportedly led to the taxi drivers embarking on a strike leaving many commuters stranded.

The strike has not been without violence, with two Golden Arrow buses torched in Khayelitsha. Golden Arrow subsequently suspended services in that area. One of the commuters fears that she might lose her job.

“It is frustrating really there are no trains, there are no taxis, we are going to lose our jobs. “

The issues stem from an alleged lack of leadership within the taxi mother body, Santaco. There are calls for a pre-election conference ahead of the regional conference scheduled to take place on the 14 August.

The spokesperson for the Minibus Taxi Task Team, Besuthu Ndugane, says there needs to be a stronger leadership force that can deal with the issues that taxi operators face.

“This kind of action widens the unfair competition that we are facing. We are commuting 70% of the commuting members of the public but we are the worst of business space where we are not making money, fuel has been going up and up for a very long time and the interest rate is killing us. So we are just providing a charity service, we are not even in business.”

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in the Western Cape has called for government intervention.

“Government must sort out this problem as quickly as possible because this is affecting our community workers in general very dearly.  The issues that have been raised in the taxi industry, we are requesting the government to deal with those issues and to sort out the leadership issue and taxi issue in general,” says Chairperson Motlatsi Tsubane.

Western Cape Transport Minister Donald Grant says the matter needs to be dealt with internally. “I am not in a position to guarantee a pre- elective conference because then it could be said that I was interfering in what is free and fair elections and that is something that government should not do because we respect the independence of Santaco both nationally and the regional leadership so if there’s a spat in the regional leadership that must be resolved through fresh elections.”

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