Taxi World editor Joel Mafenya calls for an end to the carnage and urges government to be 'proactive' not 'reactive'.
While the fledgling R50 billion-rand taxi industry continues on a growth trajectory in South Africa, non-formalisation and lack of real empowerment opportunities are set to ruin the sector, an expert has cautioned.
The latest spate of minibus taxi violence has claimed the lives of at least five people, with several others injured in Tshwane’s Olivenhoutbosch,
Commenting on this, Taxi World editor Joel Mafenya, whose latest edition calls for an end to the carnage, has urged government to be “pro-active and not be reactive”.
Gauteng premier David Makhura has announced a commission of inquiry into the taxi violence, set to have its first sitting tomorrow (Thursday).
Mafenya described the decision as “a sign of being reactive”.
Said Mafenya: “This violence has been there for several years and what we need is an all-embracive approach – not a top-down type of a solution.
“The industry has for far too long been left by the government to operate informally.
“Like any business, it is time for it to be formalised in terms of how it operates.
“The stakes are high and fights over routes are at the core of the violence – a sign that the market is shrinking.
“Drivers and commuters in Olivenhoutbosch and elsewhere in South Africa, find themselves being caught in the crossfire.
“What taxi operators need is real economic empowerment that is legislated.
“As many families look forward to enjoying the festive season with their loved ones – there are many who are mourning deaths of relatives and friends, due to the taxi violence.
“While there have been a few government-initiated investigations and commissions focusing on taxi related killings in the past, we have not seen much action by way of recommendations being implemented.”
On the eve of the commission of inquiry, to be chaired by Justice Jeremiah Buti Shongwe, the governing African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng has joined calls for an end to the taxi violence.
Provincial spokesperson Bones Modise reiterated the party’s call to the stakeholders in the minibus taxi industry to “take advantage of this opportunity and make submissions”.
“The ANC sends heartfelt condolences to the families of those that got killed in the violence and wish speedy recovery to those that are injured.
“ANC calls for law enforcement agencies to work around the clock and bring to an end the latest wave of taxi violence in Olivenhoutbosch.
“We appeal to stakeholders to explore alternative ways to settle disputes, instead of resorting to means that put the lives of innocent commuters at risk.
“Acts of violence can never be a justifiable way of resolving disagreements and these must be condemned by all in society.
“A commission of inquiry into taxi violence to begin work on Thursday, stems from a commitment by the ANC-led government to find long-term solution to the public transport sector in Gauteng.”
Meanwhile, police have mobilised and deployed more resources in Olivenhoutbosch after the latest killings, with provincial police spokesperson Mathapelo Peters saying this would ensure the violence did not escalate.
Minibus taxis are the most available and affordable form of public transportation, used by the majority of people in the country.
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