/ 19 September 2007

Jo’burg taxi operators blame registrar for violence

Taxi operators on Wednesday blamed the registrar for public transport in Gauteng for violence that erupted between two taxi groups vying for the Clearwater Mall route west of Johannesburg.

The Faraday Taxi Association (FTA) and the Dobsonville, Roodepoort, Leratong, Johannesburg Taxi Association (Dorljota) said the registrar had failed to decide who could use the route and that agreements reached were never implemented.

The two taxi associations aired their concerns at a meeting aimed to curb taxi violence that had been experienced over the past six months.

The meeting resolved that the two associations would continue to operate at the Clearwater Mall pending an appeal lodged by the FTA after the registrar ruled that it must not operate at Clearwater Mall.

Registrar Sam Ledwaba said there was nothing that his office could do pending the outcome of the appeal.

He said the two associations would continue to transport people to Clearwater Mall until the court ruled otherwise.

Ledwaba also said the two associations would bring ten taxis each to operate on the Radiokop route.

He said an arrangement was reached between the two associations after it was found that both of them did not apply to operate on the route.

”The ten taxis from each association have been marked with stickers to identify them,” he said.

This was after FTA suggested that the registrar close the Radiokop route because the two associations operating on that route had ”misbehaved”.

The FTA said there was a makeshift agreement between itself and Dorljota over the route.

Chairperson of the National Taxi Alliance (NTA) Scelo Mabaso appealed for peace between the two taxi associations.

He said if violence continued the only option left was to impound taxis that operated on wrong routes.

”I never supported that taxis should be impounded, but if a taxi operates where it’s not supposed to operate, let it be impounded,” he said.

The Gauteng transport department, the registrar, and the two taxi associations met in Kibler Park, south of Johannesburg, with the aim of stopping the violence that has left drivers dead and some injured.

More than 200 operators from both associations attended the meeting.

Earlier in September a taxi driver from Clearwater Mall was shot dead at the Bree Street rank and in August two men were shot dead and a father and son injured in a shooting at a rank outside the mall. — Sapa