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Pay drivers to end taxi violence

The Western Cape Transport Department is proposing national government pay the salaries of taxi drivers in a bid to stop killings and violence in the industry, which has seen 63 deaths so far this year.

In recent months there have been escalating violence and killings that are terrorising communities across the Western Cape, and particularly in Mbekweni and Bellville, over the notorious B97 route. As the route has become more lucrative it has led to illegal operators.

About 90% of taxi murders in the province have been estimated to have taken place in Mbekweni and Bellville.

On Wednesday 7 October, Provincial Transport Minister Bonginkosi Madikizela was at the Paarl and Mbekweni taxi ranks to meet with taxi industry members.

He said unstable remuneration methods were contributing to escalating tensions among rival taxi associations.

“You have a situation where a driver is expected to make a particular amount per day, and then after that rush and make his own income. When the route is perceived s lucrative, people will fight one another for access to that route to make money.

“What we need to do as government is provide some stability, a stable income for people who are working in the industry.”

The minister had highlighted the recent Red Dot taxi service as an example of various stakeholders working together in an integrated manner towards a common goal.

“The successful Red Dot service, which was implemented as a partnership between the Western Cape Government and the taxi industry to transport essential services workers during the Covid-19 lockdown, showed what is possible when the minibus taxi industry is united and committed to providing a quality public transport service.”

Drakenstein Mayor Conrad Poole told Paarl Post the municipality is indeed in favour of formalising the industry, as proposed by the MEC.

“Government subsidies will help with the problems we are currently facing.”

Poole emphased the municipality, and indeed the region, was looking for a lasting, peaceful solution to the taxi violence, as it is not only the taxi members but also commuters who are affected by the ongoing violence.

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