GEORGE NEWS – The Western Cape government regards the current transport situation in George in such a serious light that the area was declared as high-risk in respect of taxi violence.
The announcement was made last Friday, 17 May, by Donald Grant, Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works. This followed three days of violence and criminal acts, including the torching of two George municipal traffic patrol cars and the petrol bombing of the private vehicle of a Go George bus service employee.
In a statement Grant said he has published a notice in the Government Gazette, making known his intention to implement extraordinary measures to protect commuters and secure infrastructure.
In the notice, Grant provided the background to the conflict between disgruntled taxi operators and their drivers, and the operators of the Go George bus service. Grant said after consultation with the relevant planning authority (in this case the George Municipality), he has decided to declare the George area as high-risk in respect of taxi violence.
The notice lists a number of actions that Grant may implement, including:
- To close all routes served by the Go George bus service for minibus-taxi type operations;
- To close one or more or all the routes and the rank(s) in the declared area for the operation of any type of public transport service (by affected operators), for the period stated in the notice. This includes routes to and from Thembalethu;
- To suspend any operating licence or permit authorising any of the services on a closed route or routes or at a closed rank or ranks (for affected operators) in the declared area for the relevant period;
- To instruct that no person may undertake any of the services on a closed route or routes or at a closed rank or ranks in the declared area or in terms of an operating licence or permit that has been suspended; and
- To allow other operators, who need not currently be holders of operating licences/permits for the affected routes/areas, to come in and provide the services in the interim, until the situation returns to normal.
These actions may be implemented in phases at the discretion of the minister after consultation with other government departments and affected stakeholders.
Siphesihle Dube, spokesperson for Grant, told the George Herald on Wednesday that the area is still regarded as high-risk in respect of taxi violence.
The situation is monitored and law enforcement is ongoing. It is regarded as a monitoring phase. Only if necessary and after consultation, will action be taken.