Premier Alan Winde has issued a fervent call to mini-bus taxi leaders affiliated with the South African National Taxi Council in the Western Cape (SANTACO-WC) to halt the ongoing destructive province-wide strike and re-engage in negotiations with the Western Cape Government (WCG) and City of Cape Town (CoCT) to address the longstanding challenges facing the industry.
Acknowledging the crucial role that the mini-bus taxi sector plays in both the public transport industry and the broader economy, Premier Winde expressed his concerns over the current strike, which has unfortunately been marred by episodes of violence. He emphasized that resorting to a strike accompanied by aggression is not a constructive approach to resolving the grievances of operators and drivers. He underscored the potential adverse impacts on economic growth and, more importantly, on the vulnerable communities who rely heavily on affordable public transportation.
The Premier conveyed his disappointment at SANTACO-WC’s abrupt withdrawal from the Minibus Taxi Task Team, a collaborative platform established alongside the CoCT to address the pressing issues highlighted by industry leaders. Premier Winde highlighted that sustainable solutions require a cooperative atmosphere, which is not attainable under the current circumstances marked by discord and unrest. He stated unequivocally, “Violence can never be a solution. While the right to strike is acknowledged, it cannot come at the cost of endangering innocent lives, including commuters and law enforcement officers, and causing destruction to property. The well-being and safety of the very commuters who constitute the lifeblood of the taxi industry are paramount.”
Expressing his commitment to maintaining order and safety, Premier Winde announced that legal actions are being explored to prevent and halt the violent incidents associated with the ongoing strike. He firmly stated, “Such acts of violence are wholly unacceptable and will not be tolerated under any circumstances.”
Ricardo Mackenzie, Western Cape Minister of Mobility, echoed the Premier’s sentiments and expressed his hopes for a swift return of SANTACO-WC to the negotiation table. Minister Mackenzie emphasized that the Minibus Taxi Task Team, created in good faith, serves as a platform for collaborative problem-solving and progress. He recognized the complexity of the challenges faced by minibus taxi operators, which are interlinked with broader transportation issues across South Africa. Minister Mackenzie appealed to national government counterparts to expedite efforts toward formalizing the industry and fulfilling the commitments made in this regard.
In alignment with the shared objective of resolving operational challenges, the Western Cape Mobility Department, in conjunction with City officials, is tirelessly addressing the issue of operating licenses and striving to bridge the gap between transportation supply and demand. Additionally, immediate attention is being directed towards the B97 route matter, with an in-depth survey recently conducted to gather vital information for informed decision-making.
As the situation unfolds, all stakeholders – government, industry leaders, and city officials – remain hopeful that a return to the negotiating table will pave the way for constructive dialogue, lasting solutions, and ultimately, a thriving mini-bus taxi sector that not only supports the transportation needs of the public but also contributes to the socioeconomic fabric of the Western Cape.