AN INTERVENTION TO QUELL TAXI VIOLENCE BY NEWCASTLE MUNICIPALITY AND DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT AND COMMUNITY LAISON
The taxi violence in Newcastle has been prevalent following the death of the member of the taxi Association last week. The violence has borne for more than two years and many lives has been lost since the beginning of the year, it has been getting worse ever since. The taxi associations are believed to be fighting over routes hence fuel the violence with commuters dragged in the violence.
On Tuesday last week the Newcastle municipality along with the Department of Transport and Community Liaison MEC met with five taxi Associations that are operating in the area in a bid to quell the violence. MEC Willies Mchunu signed a cooperation agreement with all five taxi associations in order to resolve taxi violence.
“The taxi industry is the black owned multi-billion rand business with no proper operating regulations and many within the industry are driven by greed as result they end up killing the competitors within the industry” said MEC Willies Mchunu.
MEC Mchunu also stated that
Today we are here to intervene, we are entering into the cooperation agreement with all taxi associations and all are expected to participate in the process.
“Here we are dealing with people who are greedy and who are hit man, any offender should be given maximum fine” he added.
As results the MEC introduced drastic measures to normalize the operation:
• Introduction of an independent facilitator to evaluate all records of the five associations to verify the legitimacy of members.
• Ensuring that the Municipality plays a leading role in ensuring there is proper management and control systems for the rank that is used by the associations
• Vetting of the security companies that are employed by the taxi associations to provide services to associations at the rank and outside
• Ensuring that the SAPS effectively deal with crime at the rank.
Newcastle Municipality intervention:
• Together with KZN Department of Transport’s Deputy Directors and local Traffic admin staff, a data base was created in order to separate legal from illegal taxis perusing the rank. This makes monitoring easier and helps curb the violence amongst taxi operators intending to monopolize the facility. Rank permits which were issued to be displayed on the legally registered vehicles and discernable emblems (stickers) issued to the various Taxi Associations. The stickers were designed in-house by Superintendent K.H. Jawair.
• Boom gates with number plate recognition devices are soon to be installed to exclude entry of unauthorized vehicles.
• The Task Team evicted the mechanics in and around the rank so as to ensure no environmental degradation. This team identified the problems that must be rectified by the relevant departments so as to ensure better traffic flow and the reinstallation of services for commuters.
• The Task Team’s deployment and presence at the rank automatically mitigated the criminal elements present- no more fighting or trading of illegal goods and no entry of persons bearing arms and ammunition in vehicles associated with the violence.
Newcastle Mayor Afzul Rehman concluded
We are working closely with the KZN Department of Transport and are confident that peace and order will prevail once the whole process starts.
As Newcastle municipality we want to create a town that is the role model in the country and are grateful for the intervention made by the department of Transport hopeful this will result in telling a good story for Newcastle” added Rehman.