Transport minister calls for Cape Town to release impounded taxis, citing city bylaws as cause of friction

Transport minister Sindisiwe Chikunga wants the City of Cape Town to release impounded vehicles. File photo.
Transport minister Sindisiwe Chikunga wants the City of Cape Town to release impounded vehicles. File photo.
Image: supplied

Transport minister Sindisiwe Chikunga has called for the City of Cape Town to immediately release, without any conditions, the taxis impounded under the city's amended traffic bylaws. Those impounded under national laws are not affected by this reprieve.

Chikunga addressed the media on Tuesday in Midrand on the government’s interventions in the taxi strike called by Santaco in the Western Cape.

She said the city had introduced conditions for operating licences, and it was these bylaws the taxi industry had expressed reservations about.

“We have national laws in place that govern the infringements and penalties dealt with in the contested conditions of operating licences. The national laws are in place to ensure that fair rules are applicable to all citizens irrespective of the city or province they reside in. It can never be that a city will define itself outside the parameters of national laws and implement penalties that are out of sync with these laws.

“To this end, we call on the city to return to the negotiating table to address the areas of disagreement and demonstrate a genuine effort to find a lasting resolution to the current challenges.”

Chikunga said the department remained committed to speedily finding an amicable solution that would enable the taxi industry to call off the strike.

“Our efforts to regulate the taxi industry must be underpinned by mutual respect of the law and a genuine effort to uplift this industry and ensure that it assumes its place in the broader public transport industry, characterised by respect for the law and the rights of others,” she said.

Commenting on the scenes of lawlessness since the strike started, Chikunga said she had asked the taxi industry to denounce any form of violence or intimidation by its members.

“We condemn the violence that has characterised this strike in the strongest possible terms.

“It can never be acceptable for those who are aggrieved by the actions of the city to blockade roads and undermine the rights of ordinary citizens to travel or access schools, places of work and economic activity.” 



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