Taxi services to strike on Wednesday

Taxi - [Google Images]
Taxi services will halt services on Wednesday to protest over lucrative taxi routes.

Congress for Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta) and the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) were involved in discussions with the City of Cape Town this weekend to stop the planned withdrawals of taxis on Monday, but now decided to halt taxi services on Wednesday instead.

This comes after a crippling month-long bus strike and escalating taxi violence over lucrative travel routes which have claimed the lives of 14 taxi drivers.

The heart of this dispute lies with the renewal of an operating contract between a company called Joint Venture, which is responsible for operating MyCiti buses on the N2 between Khayletisha and  Mitchells Plain to the city’s CBD. Joint Venture consists of Golden Arrow, Codeta in Khayelistha, as well as the Route 6 Taxi Association in Mitchells Plain.

Codeta has refused to sign a contract which will see MyCiti’s operations extended, resulting in a dispute between Route 6, Golden Arrow and Codeta.

Although Route 6 and Golden Arrow overruled Codeta in signing the contract, thus extending it, Codeta has stated it is not a part of the renewed contract.

Speaking to iOL, Codeta spokesperson, Besuthu Ndungeni, said that the contract was originally signed for three years. “We will fold our hands and watch the government transport these people themselves. The contract we originally signed was for three years,” Ndugeni said.

The agreement concluded that at the end of the contract, negotiations for the future of the N2 express would begin.

Codeta attempted to negotiate with the City last July, but no action was taken. Ndugeni said that it was because of this inaction on the part of the City that Codeta did not agree to sign the extension contract.

“We then decided this partnership between Golden Arrow, Route 6 and Codeta does not work for us; we are not making money. But they extended without our consent,” Ndugeni added. “We wanted a review of the last three years to see how it went, whether the promises that were made around empowering taxi associations, the money that was spent on this contract were achieved.”

Brett Heron, City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, said that the City has been trying to engage with Codeta with little success.

“The City, for the past three months, has hosted several meetings with Joint Venture and the shareholders in an effort to resolve their concerns. Many of these concerns are for the company to resolve, and we are convinced that with commitment from the shareholders, together with the assistance of the City, these issues can be resolved,” he said. “We reached an agreement with Joint Venture but Codeta did not agree and we are still trying to have discussions to resolve some of the disputes. We are hoping that no services will be disrupted. We have a scheduled meeting on Monday where we are hoping to revolve this matter.”

Ndugeni said Codeta had decided to hold a taxi strike off until Wednesday to meet with the City and the National Department of Transport.

“If we still do not get what we need, then we are going ahead on Wednesday and Cata will join us,” he said.

Ndugeni adds that the taxi industry in South Africa is neglected by government despite contributions 60% towards public transport.

Donald Grant, Transport MEC, has condemned Codeta for threatening to cause chaos across the city.

“They must take up their grievances with the two other members they entered into this with,” he said. “All the parties must come together and sit around a table and have discussions. If they don’t agree, they must not come and cause trouble in the public transport system,” he said.