Taxi bosses pledge an end to violence

By Anita Dangazele

Taxi associations in the Eastern Cape signed a peace agreement on Wednesday to bring an end to taxi violence in the province. 

Heavily guarded taxi bosses met at the East London International Conference Centre where the province’s transport department facilitated the signing of the peace agreement. 

Transport MEC Xolile Nqatha said he was confident about the promises made by the taxi associations. However, he is aware that “nothing can ever be guaranteed” when it comes to the taxi industry.

“I don’t take it lightly that the leaders have worked together with the government up to this point. I appreciate the role played by Mr Gaylor and Mr Hintsa in working together with me to facilitate a resolution to the conflict,” Nqatha said. 

Taxi associations Santaco, Uncedo and Border have committed to working together to ensure that there are no more killings. 

Uncedo Taxi Association chairperson, Fezile Mtshengele said: “There will be no more blood spilt. We are working together and we want peace in this industry.” 

The president of the Border Taxi Alliance, Songezo Mpanda, repeated his association’s commitment towards ensuring peace. 

“We are going to work according to the peace agreement. We are going to start next week consulting with both sides to start our negotiations so that there are no killings and no fighting and people can run their businesses in harmony,” Mpanda said. 

Speaking about the root cause of the taxi violence in the province, Santaco leader Zola Yolelo said: “These are petty things. Selfishness, intolerance, and greediness are some of the things I can mention. But now associations are working on an action plan to improve working relations amongst each other.”

Earlier this year, the small seaside town of Port St John’s witnessed a bloodbath when rival taxi associations embarked on a full-on shootout, leading to the deaths of several people. 

The transport department said over 25 lives were lost in the province because of taxi violence between 2021 and 2022.

The taxi associations are now calling on law enforcement agencies to speed up their investigations into incidents of taxi violence.

Pictured above: Taxi bosses walk into the East London ICC on Wednesday. 

Image source: Supplied


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