‘Extraordinary measures’ to be taken to protect commuters in George

The Go George hub in Cradock Street in the CBD is currently being blocked off by taxis.

Western Cape Transport and Public Works Minister Donald Grant says he has declared George in the Western Cape as a ‘high-risk’ area for taxi violence.

Western Cape Transport and Public Works Minister Donald Grant on Friday said he will implementing extraordinary measures to protect commuters and secure infrastructure in George.

Grant made his remarks after three days of violence and criminal acts in the town. The violence included the torching of two George municipal traffic patrol cars and the petrol bombing of the private vehicle of a GoGeorge bus service employee.

The department has requested police and traffic enforcement in George to be on high alert, following reports that Uncedo Service Taxi Association leaders were calling on operators from outside the town to flood the area and block key routes, ranks and the bus depot.

“I have made it clear that criminal charges will be pursued against any operators who participate in – or encourage acts of criminality,” Grant said.

“The Provincial Taxi Registrar and the Provincial Regulatory Entity (PRE) will also investigate incidents and implement disciplinary action against associations, operators or their employees who breach the Codes of Conduct for taxi associations, operators and drivers.”

The conflict in George according to Grant started back in 2006. He said he decided to declare the George area as “high-risk” in respect of taxi violence.

Preventative measures may include closing all routes served by the GoGeorge Bus service for minibus-taxi type operations, closing one or more or all the routes and the rank(s) in the declared area for the operation of any type of public transport service.

This includes routes to and from Thembalethu and to suspend any operating licence or permit authorising any of the services on a closed route

Siphesihle Dube, the minister’s spokesperson, said: “Some of the other things that have been implemented is to instruct that no person may undertake any of the services on a closed route or routes or at a closed rank or ranks in the declared area or in terms of an operating licence or permit that has been suspended.

“To allow other operators, who need not be the holders of operating licences/permits for the affected routes/areas currently, to come in and provide the services in the interim period until the situation returns to normal.”

Dube said these anti-crime actions will be implemented in phases at the discretion of the Minister, after he has consulted with other government departments and affected stakeholders.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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