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Premier Winde appalled at impact of taxi strike on WC Government services

Premier Alan Winde and Western Cape government (WCG) remain gravely concerned at the devastating impact caused by the strike called by the South African National Taxi Council in the Western Cape (SANTACO-WC). “I am appalled at the scale of violence that has not only dealt a severe blow to our economy and critical services but has also delegitimised and damaged SANTACO-WC’s cause. This violence and damage to property has continued this morning. I will be holding a special Cabinet meeting this morning with key leadership from the City of Cape Town to assess what further steps need to be taken and the impact on services,” he said. The Premier has again called for taxi leaders affiliated with the council to intensify all efforts to de-escalate the violence and urgently find a resolution to the dispute. He added, “All sides, more especially residents and commuters, are being harmed by this stay away. We must find common ground now.” emphasised Premier Winde.
Western Cape Minister of Mobility Ricardo Mackenzie continued, “After ongoing urgent engagements throughout the weekend, we are extremely concerned that the strike continues. The withdrawal of mini-bus taxi services since Thursday has had a devastating impact. As the provincial government we are working extremely hard to resolve ongoing issues in the industry and establish new terms of engagement that will ensure the safety of commuters and road-users.”
Impact on critical services
The impact on provincial government and municipal services has been profound.
As a result of the strike, 287 420 learners have not been able to attend school across the province since the sudden stay-away was called. More than 9 000 teachers and staff were also prevented from going to work. The Western Cape Education Department’s #BackOnTrack programme has also been affected. This past Saturday’s classes had to cancelled. This impacted 14 000 learners.
Health and Wellness:
The strike and associated violence severely affected health services. The impact the safety and availability of transport has on our staff will be reviewed today to determine the effect it has on our service provision.
Many healthcare facilities have been forced to operate at reduced capacity:
Tygerberg, Red Cross and Groote Schuur Hospital
  • elective surgeries were postponed.
  • only emergency surgeries are being conducted.
  • outpatients are advised to only attend their appointments if it is safe to do so.
Community Health Centres and Clinics
Services at all facilities are available, but with limited capacity.
Emergency Medical Services
Access to red zone areas are possible with a law enforcement escort, resulting in possible delayed response.
Forensic Pathology Services
Tygerberg and Salt River forensic pathology services are operational, but response to scenes will be delayed in red zones as this will also only occur under the protection of law enforcement escort.
Social Development:
Many Western Cape Department of Social Development staff will have to work from home, due to the volatility of the situation. The department will also have to temporarily close its offices in the following areas:
  • Gugulethu
  • Langa
  • Mitchells Plain
  • Nyanga
  • Delft
  • Khayelitsha
  • Philipi satellite
  • Atlantis
  • Elsies River
The Premier said, “This situation is untenable and unacceptable. Our residents cannot be forced to endure this lawlessness. All parties must return to negotiations.”
Minister for Police Oversight and Community Safety, Reagen Allen has condemned the burning and damage to all property, particularly safety related resources. Contingency plans have been adopted to ensure that the burning of the law enforcement vehicles in Delft will have no operational impact on the deployment of Law Enforcement Advancement (LEAP) Officers in the area. LEAP is fully operational and part of interventions where required across the Cape Town in particular. Red zoned areas remain volatile. All law enforcement agencies are deployed across these communities and at strategic points.
Minister Mackenzie elaborated on how his department has been working flat out to end the strike and see minibus taxi services return to the roads, “Alongside the City of Cape Town, we put forward a proposal on Friday to alleviate the impact of impoundments on taxi operators, while we resolve the complex challenges around operating licenses and other issues. Unfortunately, SANTACO-WC’s additional demands are not legally implementable and would require longer-term engagements with national government and other role players. At this point, we are left with very few options if SANTACO-WC will not return to the table and resume the joint work of our Minibus Taxi Task Team.”
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