An emergency Portfolio Committee on Transport meeting scheduled for Friday to deal with “matters related to the recent Western Cape taxi violence linked to route and association disputes” was called off on Thursday. The DA finds the sudden interest by Parliament to engage on the issue of taxi violence in the province very perplexing given recent reports of over 500 taxi-related murder cases in Gauteng which have not been resolved and the over 400 open dockets in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) related to taxi violence still to be dealt with.
Friday’s meeting, for which special permission had to be obtained by Chairperson Mosebenzi Zwane would’ve been the first to take place in physical form at Parliament. Committee members were ordered to attend regardless of the pandemic despite earlier this year a request by the DA for the committee to honour a commitment to meet with residents affected by the Moloto Development Corridor was indefinitely postponed due to the pandemic.
The DA therefore doesn’t believe that this meeting on the Western Cape taxi violence was convened in good faith. It was rather an attempt by the ANC to grandstand and politicise the situation. The DA will not stand for this.
Across the country hundreds of South Africans face the risk violence and even death when they get onto a taxi. It is for this reason that the DA will now request a committee meeting focussed on the scourge of taxi violence across South Africa. This process should include:
- A meeting with Minister Fikile Mbalula to share outcomes of the recent National Taxi Legotla 2020 and its recommendations.
- Address the ongoing discontent regarding the taxi recapitalisation programme, the several sets of recommendations in former agreements and settlements that have been ignored by the ANC government.
- Invitation to the Police Portfolio Committee to engage the Transport Committee to improve safety in the transport sector.
- Address the issue of rail transport services which have left commuters across the country frustrated. One of the major areas of concerns is the closure of the Cape Town central line which have now been ravaged by vandalism and land invasions under the watchful eye of PRASA.
- Revise the National Land Transport Act (NTLTA) as a matter of urgency since it caters for the crucial operating space of public transport – improved stability and expanded enabling economic environment.
Since the ANC now appears to have a renewed interest in the issue of taxi violence, after previously showing no appetite for special engagements on this issue, we urge Chairperson Zwane to heed to our request for a special meeting to address the national taxi violence crisis.
The ANC members on the Portfolio Committee on Transport cannot cherry pick issues to tackle and find solutions to, on the basis of petty politicking and short-sightedness that is fuelled by political demagoguery. The DA will not allow itself to be drawn into such low-grade efforts but we remain positive and committed to work for real solutions and the betterment of every citizen.