Today, the Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, and the Provincial MEC of Transport and Public Works, Daylin Mitchell, met with Golden Arrow Bus Services’ (GABS) management, as part of efforts to ensure more public transport capacity is brought into the system.
Premier Winde said: “While meeting with Golden Arrow’s CEO, Francois Meyer, I was advised that the bus service is continuing to bring online more of its fleet, after the disruptions earlier this week. This evening, 60% of their fleet or approximately 600 buses will be brought online, which is an increase from 40% of their fleet yesterday. I made it clear that ensuring the safety of public transport operations is my top priority, and that SAPS has significantly increased their presence to ensure that violence is prevented.”
The CEO of GABS, Francois Meyer, said: “The recent spate of taxi violence across the metropole has had a devastating impact on Golden Arrow’s ability to offer its scheduled services to our 250 000 daily passengers. Historically Golden Arrow has been known as the most stable public transport operator who has always been there for Capetonians when other services were not operational. Unfortunately, the brazen criminality that we have seen over the last week has made this impossible.”
“Golden Arrow must however extend its sincere gratitude to Premier Alan Winde, MEC for Transport and Public Works Daylin Mitchell, the Provincial Department of Transport, the South African Police Services and the City of Cape Town’s Safety and Security Directorate for the support that we have received during this very difficult time. We believe that this holistic approach advocated by the Premier and MEC is already creating a vastly safer operating environment,” says Golden Arrow Chief Executive Officer Francois Meyer.
Earlier in the day, Premier Winde and MEC Mitchell visited the Provincial Operations Command Centre, where they received a briefing on the now significant deployment of SAPS in the metro. This coordinated operation is being led by SAPS, with the support of the SANDF, Metro Police, local law enforcement and traffic officers. This follows Premier Winde’s request yesterday for additional SANDF boots on the ground to be deployed.
This afternoon, Provincial Minister Mitchell has continued with his engagements with National Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, CATA, CODETA and SANTACO, as part of renewed efforts to find a lasting resolution to this conflict. This is in addition to a number of steps being taken by the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works, to ensure an end to taxi violence in the greater Cape Town area.
- We have published a notice in terms of Section 91 of the National Land Transport Act, which will allow the MEC of Transport and Public Works to close routes and ranks, in consultation with SAPS. The public comment for this process has now been completed, and Minister Mitchell is applying his mind, with the aim of coming to a decision soon.
- The DTPW is exploring approaching the Western Cape High Court to empower the MEC to place SANTACO associations under administration.
- The DTPW has suspended its financial support agreement with SANTACO until such a stage as the violence ends.
- We have suspended Blue Dot incentive payments to CATA and CODETA, as a direct result of the conflict.
- We are preparing to approach the Western Cape High Court seeking a declaratory order that ‘motherbodies’ (e.g. CATA, CODETA) are, like SANTACO Western Cape, confined to specific geographic areas.
- We will also seek an interdict against ‘motherbodies’ preventing them from establishing themselves outside demarcated geographical areas.
Premier Alan Winde said: “A small group of criminals are denying the overwhelming majority of law-abiding taxi drivers from earning a living. They are also threatening the livelihoods of our most vulnerable communities, at a time when the economy is already under pressure and jobs are being lost. We simply cannot allow it to continue, and that is why we will continue to do whatever we can to protect our commuters, and ensure that they can get to work, and home safely.’
The full list of interventions being pursued by the Western Cape’s Department of Transport and Public Works, under the leadership of Minister Mitchell, can be found here: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/gc-news/316/56961