“We expect taxis to operate as usual on Monday, we do not expect any taxi to block the road,” said chairman Tseko Moribe.
Minibus taxi drivers shut down Mahikeng on Friday, blocking all major intersections in theNORTH WEST capital, protesting that the Re A Kgona bus service would push them out ofBUSINESS. This led to traffic jams in the city and commuters stranded.
GOVERNMENT has created a conducive platform to raise all issues,” said Moribe.
He said the bus service was not new. “It is the same bus service operated by Atamelang bus service, the only thing here is that the bus company has replaced old buses with new buses. They use the same routes.”
He said drivers blocked the road on Friday without the blessing of taxi owners.
“We had aMEETING with all 13 taxi associations. Taxi owners were not aware that their drivers would block the road and did not support it [ blocking of roads]. Each taxi owner will speak to his drivers that what happened on Friday should not be repeated,” he said.
north westTransport MEC Gaoage Molapisi said following the unforeseen traffic disruption on Friday, he called an urgent meeting with all taxi associations operating in Mahikeng on Saturday, where he expressed his dissatisfaction by the conduct and acts of the taxi operators.
“Members of the association used the platform to express their fears and frustrations in the taxi industry and admitted that the introduction of Re a A Kgona high frequency bus service is a threat to their business,” he said.
Re A Kgona bus high frequency is a project intended to reduce private car dependency and traffic congestion especially during peak hours.
Moribe said at the launched of the Re A Kgona on Wednesday, some of taxi drivers protested claiming that the busSERVICE would squeeze them out of business.
“We talked to them, explaining everything to them but, on Friday they blocked the roads.”
The meeting resolved amongst others that there was a miscommunication between the taxi operators and the association regarding the introduction of Re A Kgona.
A team would be establish to deal with all issues raised and timeously give feedback to members.
The parties alsoAGREED to work together to ensure the smooth implementation of Re A Kgona.
“We want to assure the public of Mahikeng that such disruptions will notCONTINUE on Monday or in future as we are aware of the threat already circulating. We wish to state the propaganda that the bus fare is going to be R3,50 or R5,00 is ridiculous and misleading, its utter blue lies,” said Molapisi.
“We regret the inconvenience caused on Friday to the public. We have the common vision of provision of public transport and reaffirm our commitment to provide that.”
“We remain confident thatOPEN discussions remain the only way of resolving disputes. We call on all parties to accept the urgent need for a dialogue and working towards restoring normal community life in Mahikeng,” said spokesman Smuts Matshe.
“We are worried that the protest has affected ordinary people in and around Mahikeng. This was an unfair inconvenience to people who have nothing to do with the matters under dispute. As the SACP we recognise the right to protest, however as they do that, protesters need to respect the rights of otherCITIZENS.”