Gauteng roads and transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo has released the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into Taxi Violence in the province after Premier David Makhura appointed the commission two years ago.
Makhura announced the commission at a taxi summit held in Vanderbijlpark in July 2019, following violence that had been hounding the taxi industry.
“The killings are getting worse everywhere and the fundamental question is, who is actually feeding this? And who is benefiting from this violence? I am going to appoint a retired judge to probe the underlying causes and the forces behind this taxi violence,” Makhura said at the time.
In the report, Mamabolo said the commission had found many issues that lead to the outbreak of violence in the industry such as the regulation of the industry, licensing and compliance of operators, criminality and prosecution of operators and the management and control of ranking facilities.
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Mamabolo said that the minibus taxi business model was currently self-regulated and despite the legal framework, was controlled by the taxi associations.
“The associations control who gets to join them, they control routes and dictate where each operator must operate. They also allow those without operating licenses to join them,” said Mamabolo.
Mamabolo said that associations had become a law unto themselves, with executives refusing to vacate their positions even when they had been voted out of office.
Mamabolo also explained that the industry had failed to conduct necessary background checks on the operators before they were handed their licenses
“Out of many cases reported in a year, very few arrests appear to be made. Where there are arrests the prosecutions are also very few, although there are cases of successful prosecutions.
“There have been instances of overlooking or not following up on evidence including witnesses, as well as not acting on the instructions of the prosecutors that would lead to the withdrawal of charges,” said Mamabolo.
Mamabolo concluded that another issue that contributed to the industry violence was that the associations had control over ranking facilities, which allowed them to decide who operated where and when.
“The control and management of ranking infrastructure constitutes one of the causes of taxi conflict and violence. Taxi associations have an arrangement with municipalities over the use of ranking facilities.
“However, this often leads to the associations determining which operator gets to operate from there. In some instances, taxi operators create their own ranks including near the shopping centres,” said Mamabolo.
Mamabolo said that regulations should be developed relating to the oversight and monitoring of public transport for national application.
Compiled by Reitumetse Makwea