The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has granted an order dissolving the current Mamelodi Amalgamated Taxi Association (Mata) executive committee, following a spate of violence, unrest and instability in the township, according to the Gauteng department of roads and transport.
In a statement, the department said Gauteng’s MEC for Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure Jacob Mamabolo launched an urgent application with the court after the violence had claimed the lives of at least 19 people.
Mamabolo decided not to close the routes or suspend operating permits in an attempt to ensure the lives of commuters were not further disrupted.
Instead, he launched the urgent application and, following the order of the court, Mamabolo appointed Hettie Groenewald as the administrator of the taxi association with immediate effect.
This was done following consultation.
Groenewald, who has been an attorney for 40 years, and specialises in taxi-related matters, has been tasked with rebuilding Mata – and restoring orderly operations over the next three months to prepare for the election of a new executive committee.
Mamabolo hailed the high court decision as a victory towards the restoration of order and the quelling of taxi violence in the Mamelodi area, and in Gauteng.
“Although this was an extraordinary measure, our intervention was designed to ensure the safety of passengers without disrupting the public transport operations in the area,” Mamabolo said.
“Our intervention ultimately aims at restoring order, ensuring that Mata members are allowed to appoint an executive committee, and to operate in terms of their constitution, instead of operating through the barrel of a gun,” remarked Mamabolo.
The statement further read that the department, which is responsible for the granting of permits and operating licences, has a responsibility to ensure that these are always used for the benefit of the commuters and not as licences for criminality.
“It is important for the taxi industry to appreciate that taxi association members were granted operating licences to provide transport services, and definitely not to use these operating licences as instruments of crime.
“We will not hesitate to act decisively, without fear or favour, where operating licences are used for improper purposes,” Mamabolo concluded.