CAPE TOWN – Mediation efforts to end the violent conflict between rival minibus taxi associations in Delft, Cape Town, have led to a peace agreement being reached and services restored, Western Cape transport and public works MEC Donald Grant said on Sunday.
Following a fruitful engagement between rivals Delft Taxi Associations and the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) which ended late on Thursday night, the parties resumed discussions at the provincial regulatory entity (PRE) offices in Athlone on Friday, he said.
They were joined by officials from the transport and public works department, the City of Cape Town, and law enforcement authorities.
Both engagements were facilitated by an independent group of mediators appointed by the department following the outbreak of violent conflict between taxi operators and drivers that left many commuters stranded, Grant said.
The conflict also led to the killing of two taxi drivers, the blockade of key routes, and the forceful closure of taxi ranks by the rival groups. The South African Police Service (SAPS) and traffic enforcement authorities responded swiftly with about 20 arrests and 40 vehicles impounded over the past week.
“The engagements were able to broker a peace agreement between the rivalling parties. In the preamble to the agreement signed by the parties the taxi operators acknowledged the detrimental effects that the conflict had on the communities that they are meant to serve,” he said.
All groups committed themselves to immediately resume peaceful operations and to resolve any future conflicts through peaceful dialogue. The taxi operators agreed to continue with further discussions to resolve a list of issues that were identified through the mediation process.
“I should like to commend the SAPS for the leading role they played in addressing the criminal actions of certain operators and drivers. Enforcement authorities will continue to monitor the situation in Delft although taxi operations had mostly returned to normal on Friday morning.
“Thank you to the South African National Taxi Council’s (Santaco) leadership in the Western Cape for the role they played in getting parties to commit to the mediation process and assisting in facilitating the agreement. Thanks must also go to officials of the department of transport and public works, City of Cape Town, and traffic law enforcement for their tireless efforts,” Grant said.