MEC must facilitate urgent negotiations with National Taxi Council – DA KZN

Party says go-slow comes after members aired their grievances and has caused massive disruptions to traffic

Durban taxi chaos: MEC must facilitate urgent negotiations with South Africa National Taxi Council

1 June 2017

The Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal today calls on KZN Transport MEC, Mxolisi Kaunda, to facilitate urgent negotiations between provincial government, the KZN branch of the South Africa National Taxi Council (Santaco) and other relevant stakeholders.

The move follows two days of massive disruption to traffic in and around Durban following strike action by members of the organisation. The go-slow comes after members aired their grievances, one of which is the high cost of purchasing vehicles.

Of particular concern to the DA is the manner in which some members have conducted themselves, with cars being stoned and major routes in and out of Durban blockaded by buses and taxis and even burning tyres.

The right to protest forms part of our Constitution. However, it is completely unacceptable to threaten the lives of other road users. The DA appeals to the SAPS and other law enforcement agencies to clamp down on any violence that may reoccur.

This is not the first time that taxi bosses and their drivers have embarked on strike action and the question must be asked - is government, either provincial or national, in serious negotiations with Santaco? If issues are to be resolved, any reasonable demands must be addressed.

The events of the last two days have not only inconvenienced thousands of commuters, they have also had a severe impact on both the provincial and national economy. Transport is the lifeblood of our economy and as a major port city, Durban cannot be in a position where the free flow of traffic is interfered with and where national highways are blocked.

The long-term effects of such strike action are frightening. In particular, Santaco’s targeting of the motor industry over rising costs could lead to further withdrawals by major players within the industry, leaving thousands unemployed. The bottom line is that we are being watched.

Many of Santaco’s grievances come as a result of a downturn in the country’s economy. Certainly, the rising cost of borrowing money in order to purchase vehicles is directly linked to this. The blame for this can be placed squarely at the door of Jacob Zuma and his ANC government.

The economies of both Durban and KwaZulu-Natal cannot be compromised as they have been these last two days. The DA expects a response from the MEC and an assurance that he and other key stakeholders are committed to ongoing negotiations with Santaco in a bid to resolve issues.

Issued by Rafeek Shah, DA KZN Spokesperson on Transport, 1 June 2017