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17 Apr 2009 13:11
The taxi industry will convene a summit on Monday in an attempt to convince African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma and Transport Minister Jeff Radebe to involve them in the Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT).
Speaking in Pretoria on Friday, secretary-general of the South African National Taxi Council Philip Taaibosch said after many attempts to reach an agreement on the matter: “Enough is now enough”.
This followed a taxi summit last year in which Radebe failed to address the crowd.
At a second summit in December, Taaibosch said it had resolved to go out into the nine provinces and speak to its members to create unity.
“We endured the pains of the imposed deregulation era that led to violence and loss of lives because of the self-centred interests of the apartheid regime.
“Fourteen years into democracy, we are now confronted with round-table systematic plots to nicely get rid of us.
“When we cite this concern all we get is a word-of-mouth for assurance. No more,” said Taaibosch.
He said the ANC had confirmed that Zuma would be attending the summit.
Assurances had also been given that Radebe would be there.
Should the new government, likely to be under the leadership of Zuma, not heed the industry’s concerns then a national taxi strike would be rolled out, he said.
“Taxi operators will have to embark on the resistance programme, which we believe will not be violent.
Taaibosch said he was optimistic that Zuma, as a “people’s person”, would clearly understand the needs of the people on the ground.
Taaibosch said despite the disunity displayed at the failed summit last year, the members were unified.
He said there had also been a clear call for taxi leaders who had sided with the government, and not with the interests of their members first, to not lead the industry.
“There is no little noise-making of violence (sic). We are just asking them to get out,” said Taaibosch.
The BRT system—a new streamlined bus service—is planned for Johannesburg, Cape Town, the Nelson Mandela Metro and Tshwane.
Last month Johannesburg commuters were left stranded as thousands of taxi drivers protested against the BRT system.—Sapa
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