Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis says the city will not negotiate with the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) over the minibus taxi strike.
Police minister Bheki Cele called on the mayor and Cape Town safety and security MMC JP Smith to “get off their high horses” and negotiate with Santaco to put an end to the strike.
He called for the city to release impounded taxis.
“Everybody must come down off their high horse‚ swallow their pride and stop arrogance. The [violence] is not happening at the expense of the people refusing to resolve the matter. They are well where they live and drive cars and go to school‚” he said..
“The people suffering are ordinary black children that can’t go to school. More than 17‚000 teachers can’t go to school. Pregnant women have to walk kilometres [to hospitals]. People must swallow their pride and come together and we can resolve this matter.”
Hill-Lewis said the city will not negotiate with Santaco if violence persists. He said the city would not negotiate with people threatening violence.
“It is not our approach and we do not believe it is the right policy anywhere in South Africa to negotiate with people threatening you with violence and perpetrating violence‚” Hill-Lewis said.
It was not right for Cele to negotiate with taxis killing police officers and members of the public‚ he said.
“We’ve taken a principled position‚ we will not speak with those perpetrating violence until it stops. The taxi industry knows they will get nothing from government‚ no answer whatsoever.
“You negotiate with criminals; we won’t.”
On Wednesday‚ Santaco said the strike would continue on Thursday after a meeting between the taxi council and national transport minister Sindisiwe Chikunga.
“Santaco has engaged the services of lawyers to apply for an urgent interdict via courts for the release of all vehicles that have been impounded and to interdict the City of Cape Town and the department of mobility from impounding more vehicles until all matters have been resolved‚” Santaco said.
“We appeal to our members to be patient and allow us to complete this process. The application will be lodged within 48 hours and we will not operate until this process is completed. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause to our commuters and [the] public.”
Source: ARENA Holdings.