Taxi forum in court bid to suspend BRT system

The United Taxi Association Forum on Thursday lodged legal papers in the High Court in Pretoria to have the launch of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system suspended, the SABC reported.

The BRT system is expected to start operation in Johannesburg next week.

However, forum spokesperson Ralph Jones told the broadcaster they wanted the court to suspend the BRT system until proper talks had taken place.

“What we are saying is, park this whole thing until such a time that we have all spoken,” he said.

“Everybody is saying that they have been talking to the taxi industry, but the taxi industry is saying, you are not talking to us,” Jones said.

“So why not park it and actually go and talk to the people that are saying you have not spoken to them. From there, if it must continue, it will continue.

“If it must stop forever, let it stop forever, then we uplift the suspension,” Jones said.

Meanwhile, the Gauteng Tripartite Alliance has urged government to reprimand taxi operators who seek to hold people to ransom over the implementation of the BRT.

Taxi operators have threatened to go on strike next Tuesday.

“The leadership of the taxi industry is attempting to hold our democratically elected government, and consequently ordinary commuters, to ransom,” members of the alliance said at a joint media briefing in Alberton, south of Johannesburg.

“The ANC, Cosatu [Congress of South African Trade Unions] and SACP [South African Communist Party] alliance would like to make it categorically clear that the intended strike by the taxi industry does not have our support.”

ANC secretary in Gauteng David Makhura said the alliance in the province put its full weight behind the BRT system, set to launch on September 1 in Johannesburg.

BRT was part of an approach to do away with apartheid spatial planning and would provide an “integrated, efficient, affordable, reliable and safe public transport system”.

The alliance acknowledged the right of citizens to protest peacefully but called on the taxi industry to respect the rights of citizens who support the BRT system.

“We also call on the government to ensure that law-enforcement agencies protect ordinary citizens on the day of the strike.—Sapa

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