The violence in the taxi industry is far from over.
This is the view of the Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport Jacob Mamabolo. He was speaking at a commission of inquiry looking into taxi violence on Thursday. The commission is chaired by Justice Jeremiah Shongwe and commissioners Nhlula Msimang and Lungile Mabece in Parktown, Johannesburg.
Mamabolo said the root cause of taxi violence in the province was over lucrative routes, which led to the loss of lives.
He mentioned the recent killings of five people in Olievenhoutbosch and its surrounding area, which allegedly were over routes.
“Some taxi operators in the province are possessing powerful and heavy guns. Disputes over routes are caused by acts of corruption and collusion between the department and taxi associations.
“…. despite interventions by the department, violence in the taxi industry continues unabated. Some associations complained that the weaker law enforcement agencies and collusion between officials and taxi associations contribute to taxi violence,” said Mamabolo.
The department doesn’t have a record of both legal and illegal operating licenses.
Mamabolo said another issue which was raised by some taxi associations during the recent Gauteng Taxi Summit was the issuing of taxi-operating permits.
The department together with local municipalities in the province have stopped issuing new permits in order for an audit to be done, to determine how many legal and illegal permits have been issued so far.
“I am confident that the taxi industry will change for the better if resolutions of the taxi summit are implemented. We have resolved in our summit, to empower taxi associations in the province to understand the transport economy.
“Taxi drivers will also be empowered with customer care training in order to treat women, children, the elderly and people living with disabilities with respect and dignity. Drivers will also be taken to advanced driving training.”
Mamabolo said they are negotiating with institutions of higher learning in the province to provide teaching and learning to interested taxi associations.
He added that a taxi academy that will be formed will assist in changing many minds in the taxi industry and will assist in preventing taxi violence.
“The taxi academy will also broaden the economy of the taxi industry,” said Mamabolo.