/ 15 March 2023

Cape Town taxi body backs EFF shutdown call but won’t take part

July 27 2021 Rows Of Cata Taxis Parked At The Langa Taxi Rank On Tuesday Afternoon After Ongoing Violence Between Warring Taxi Associations Over Lucrative Commuter Routes Has Resulted In At Least Twenty Six People Being Killed. Cape Town. Photo By David

The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) in the Western Cape says it supports the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) planned national shutdown on Monday, 20 March, but will not participate in it.

The EFF says it has called for the shutdown to protest the many problems the country faces, such as electricity load-shedding and unemployment. It also wants President Cyril Ramaphosa to step down.

Santaco has not been approached by the EFF regarding the planned shutdown “and, as such, Santaco Western Cape will not be participating in the shutdown”, its provincial spokesperson, Mandla Hermanus, announced on Wednesday. 

He said some associations had been approached by the EFF and “it would be up to those associations to decide whether to participate or not”. 

Santaco had itself threatened to embark on a stayaway on 22 February, citing, among other grievances, the “unfair impoundment of minibus taxis for minor traffic violations by drivers” and the lifted moratorium on metered taxi operating licences, allowing the distribution of new licences for e-hailing taxi services. 

But it called off the protest after a successful meeting with the Western Cape department for mobility. 

Meanwhile, the Land Party South Africa in the Western Cape is urging people to participate in the “national day of action”.

“The Land Party asks landers, fighters, taxi associations, black and coloured communities, gang leaders, workers, the poor, backyard dwellers, the landless people, civil organisations, churches and progressive forces to unite against DA [Democratic Alliance] racism in the Western Cape,” it said in a statement.

The party criticised the DA-led City of Cape Town’s court application for an interdict against the EFF’s planned strike, saying the DA “has been using this tactic in the Western Cape collaborating with the Cape high court to deny poor communities a right to protest”.

Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said on Tuesday the city’s court application was “against any attempts to incite or participate in looting, vandalism, and disruption as part of the EFF’s ‘national shutdown’ protest”. 

“Everyone has the right to democratically protest in South Africa, but it is undemocratic and unlawful to threaten a shutdown of public life, and for businesses to stay closed or face dire consequences,” Hill-Lewis said.