Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde, has called on warring taxi associations in the province, CATA and CODETA, to resolve their differences peacefully.
More than 80 people have been killed in the province in ongoing taxi-related violence between the two associations since the start of the year.
At least 24 of them were shot and killed since the start of July.
The Bellville Taxi Rank has been partially closed due to the violence. Loading lanes that are used by CATA and CODETA are also not operating at the rank.
This after authorities closed the B-97 route between Mbekweni and Bellvile due to safety concerns for all road users. The route will be closed for two months.
Premier Winde says resorting to violence to resolve issues is unacceptable. He was speaking online during a taxi safety media briefing.
“Whether it’s an economic dispute, or whatever kind of dispute, we cannot use criminality and violence, it is absolutely unacceptable and when it does happen we need to make sure that the full force of the law is brought in, we have to make sure that we move away from this way of operating in our everyday lives and in our society.”
Western Cape Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, has urged police to conduct comprehensive investigations into all taxi-related incidents of violence which have been reported in the province this year. He was also speaking during the digital media briefing.
“I really want to specifically call on SAPS to do proper investigations into all those people who were arrested for any form of violence relating to taxis and to please make sure that the investigation is of such a quality that we can get convictions and secure convictions by the National Prosecuting Authority so that people can be put behind bars who are guilty of any offence related to violence during the taxi conflict,” he said.
Western Cape police are calling on communities in areas that have been affected by ongoing taxi violence to come forward with any information that will assist them with their investigations.
Provincial Police Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile, says 22 people have been arrested in connection with the taxi war since the start of the year.
“Twenty-two people have been arrested and those cases are running in court, cases within the taxi industry, that’s besides what we said last week on the 12 arrests on firearms and this one of yesterday, that’s beside that. From January until now, we have arrested 22 people and those cases are running currently in court,” says Patekile.
The dispute between CATA and CODETA over the route between Mbekweni and Bellville has been referred for arbitration, which is expected to conclude this week.
Commuters, who are affected by the lack of taxi services, are advised to make use of trains and buses as alternative forms of transport.
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