Taxi service grinds to a halt in Nyanga

Cata members from Nyanga arrived at Delft taxi rank on Wednesday, which was closed due to looming violence with the Delft Taxi Association. Picture: Bheki Radebe

Taxi commuters in Nyanga are struggling to find alternative means of transport after the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) suspended their operations as violence in the industry intensifies.

Cata’s operations in Delft have also been suspended due to an apparent dispute between itself and the Delft Cape Town Taxi Association (DTA) over control of the taxi routes in the area.

At least four shootings have been reported over the past week, two of them fatal. The Delft taxi rank is run by three associations, Cata, DTA and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta).

Cata spokesperson James Maki said its operations had been suspended indefinitely, which would result in thousands of commuters being stranded.

“Our drivers refuse to go out and work because they are being targeted. We would like to advise commuters to make alternative travelling arrangements as this problem could continue indefinitely.”

He said the dispute had been raging since last year when 75 DTA taxis had been integrated into the Delft routes without permits, but the initial issue had been resolved.

However, Mr Maki said Cata had since been targeted.

“DTA wants to take total control of the Delft routes, and is pushing us out. They don’t want to be spread among the different branches; they just want total ownership of the Delft rank, which is not fair,” said Mr Maki.

However, the DTA chairman and interim chairman of the Delft Taxi Council, Nazeem Daniels, said the violence was due to executive council elections scheduled for today, Thursday March 23.

“We have an agreement with Codeta that seven of their taxi owners get dual membership, which they were okay with, but when we gave Cata the same offer they refused.

“It is time that we take back Delft and control its regulation and routes. Cata cannot expect to run the whole of the Western Cape. It wants to bully us in our own branch,” said Mr Daniels.

On the agenda for the council elections was a set of regulations that both Codeta and Cata would have to adhere to in order to operate in Delft, he said.

Mr Daniels also refuted allegations that his association was responsible for inciting the violence.

Codeta spokesperson Andile Khanyi said his organisation was not affected by the taxi war and would continue to operate.

The violence in Delft had spilled over to other taxi ranks.

On Monday, a 25-year-old Delft taxi driver was stabbed at the Cape Town taxi rank.

Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said no arrests had been made.

JP Smith, the Mayco member for safety and security, and social services, said the City had made attempts to bring calm to the area, but to no avail.

In their attempts with the police to quell the violence, 32 taxis were impounded in Delft, 1820 fines issued, two arrests were made and 10 illegal firearms were confiscated.

MEC for Transport and Public Works Donald Grant said his department was also intervening.

“We have plans for redefining the routes, but the main tension is the elections and the struggle for leadership,” he said.

– Cape Argus