THOUSANDS of Soweto taxi commuters will have to find alternative transport for the next three months, starting tomorrow morning, because routes will be shut down amid deadly feuds between associations.
Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport Ismail Vadi yesterday published regulations in the provincial gazette, instituting “extraordinary measures in declared areas characterised by violence relating to the conflict between the Witwatersrand African Taxi Owners Association (Wata) and Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association.”
“What this means is that specific taxi ranks and routes in Soweto will be shut down from Friday morning for three months, until June 15.
“It is necessary to shut down minibus taxi services for the safety of commuters,” said Vadi.
According to Vadi, at least five people have been murdered in the township since violence erupted on January 19. These included Wata’s vice-chairperson and treasurer.
“On March 11, about 300 taxi drivers purportedly linked to Wata and Nanduwe unlawfully blockaded the Johannesburg CBD, creating disruption of traffic for several hours,” he said.
Last week, the department warned that the full might of law enforcement would be felt should the associations fail to adhere to the regulations.
“In terms of the published regulations No 80 (Volume 25), no person is allowed to operate minibus taxi services along the specified ranks and routes in Soweto. This means that these routes and ranks will be shut down from the morning of March 15 until June 15.
“A person is guilty of an offence if he/she operates minibus taxi services in contravention of the regulation.
“Where a person is convicted of contravening regulation, a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding R25 000 may be imposed.”
By SIBONGILE MASHABA firstname.lastname@example.org | @smashaba
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