Open letter to the MEC for Transport in the Western Cape and Mr Nathan about Golden Arrow/Taxi problems by Bantu Holomisa - UDM President (01/08/2000)

On the 27 July 2000, I was invited to two meetings of the Taxi industry to listen to their side of the story in the on-going conflict between the Taxi Associations and Golden Arrow Bus Company in the Western Cape region.

The first meeting comprised ten delegates from each of CATA and CODETA Taxi Associations.  The second one, which I was invited to address involved about 1500 Taxi owners and drivers.  Both meetings expressed identical concerns that the
pre-requisite for the resolution of the conflict was the levelling of the playing field in their transport industry in the Western Cape region.

The following are the areas identified by the Taxi Associations as evidence of the

un-even playing field:-

  1.  Delegates from the Golden Arrow Bus Company have withdrawn from the  talks being brokered by Mr Nathan.  Consequently it is no longer clear what the status of the talks in question is at the present moment.

  2. The Golden Arrow Bus Company was in past years, even before the advent of Khayelitsha, been given a blanket authority to operate all over the Western Cape without exception or restrictions of any kind. 

  3.  Conversely the Taxi Operators operate strictly on permits which restrict them to certain routes under vigorous supervision from the police department.

a. The Taxi drivers are constantly harassed on their routes by police who sometimes impound their Taxis only to discover later on that these taxis has permits to operate on the routes at which they were impounded.

b.  Some of these taxis are returned to their owners damaged, which is and therefor financially detrimental to the owners who must bear the cost of their repairs.

  1. Taxi owners and drivers complain that the Government is prejudiced against the Taxi industry because at recent meetings with some National government Ministers, they have received threats from those ministers.

  2. The Taxi Association also submit that Golden Arrow Bus Company is subsidized by the government while the Taxi industry does not enjoy this benefit, a situation which places the government in an impossible position to be objective and impartial in the conflict.

  3. Taxi Drivers allege that they are victims of physical assault and stoning by unknown persons, and no visible attempts are being made to normalize the situation.

  4. The Associations further allege that the Cape Metropolitan Mayor and ANC official, Miss Noma-India Mfeketho is a director in the Golden Arrow Bus Company Board.  Her status casts a dark shadow on her role in the conflict and her capacity to contribute to the peace process in the area of her jurisdiction.  The meeting called for public scrutiny of her involvement in the said company.

  5. Notwithstanding the fact that Golden Arrow were party to the talks brokered by Mr Nathan before their unilateral public withdrawal from the same talks, of the new MEC for Transport, Hennie Bester has arrogantly imposed a twenty-four closure of Taxi/bus ranks in Khayelitsha without consulting the Taxi Association in a move that is apparently endorsing the stance of the bus company and therefore appeasing them.  This effectively leaves the talks being brokered Mr Nathan and attended by the Taxi Associations in limbo.

  6. In conclusion both CATA and CODETA submit that they are committed to the finding of a solution to the on-going conflict, but re-affirm the pre-requisite for the levelling of the playing field before any solution can be found.

I was assured by the Taxi Association that they fully support and would assist all the investigations being conducted in respect of the on-going violence in the Western Cape.

  1. I would however strongly urge the MEC for Transport to rescind his decision to close the ranks in the affected areas because this does not solve the problem facing the transport industry.  He should initiate the resumption of the talks by all stakeholders and bring the bus company back to the negotiating table.

Thanking you

HB Holomisa
President: UDM

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