Cape Town taxi agreement made an order of court
The High Court also dismissed SANTACO’s interdict application
The City of Cape Town and the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) have for now smoked a peace pipe in an effort to stop any further taxi-strike related violence in the city.
The order, taken by consent and granted by Cape Town High Court Judge Derek Wille on Friday afternoon, placed legal certainty on an agreement signed earlier this month.
The ruling also puts paid to SANTACO’s application for an interdict to stop the impoundment of minibus taxis, which is what led to the violent strike.
The agreement states that it will only subsist for as long as there is no further taxi-related violence.
The order notes that the agreement was reached between the City, the Western Cape province and SANTACO on 10 August to “ensure the immediate return of mini-bus services” and the process to resolve the remaining grievances raised by taxi operators which gave rise to the strike.
It states that from 11 to 25 August, officials will exercise discretion granted to them under the legislation so that only the offences of operating without a licence, without a professional driving permit or driver’s licence, or driving an unroadworthy vehicle would result in impoundment.
During this 14 day period, the Minibus Taxi Task Team will begin to review the balance of the standard operating licence conditions applicable to minibus taxis in order to reach agreement on the offences that remain in contention.
Within those 14 days, the City will provide a list setting out the proposed differentiations between so called serious and minor offences contained in the National Land Transport Act and the National Transport Act for the purposes of creating a protocol guide for traffic officers when exercising discretion on impoundments.
The City also agreed to make representations to the NPA, which may be necessary to ensure the release of any impounded minibus taxis in respect of which SANTACO has engaged the City.
“This should be considered as a show of good faith in the interests of getting these vehicles released swiftly as possible,” the agreement states.
It also provides for a process of quick escalation should the team be faced with challenges and that SANTACO will give at least 36 hours notice of any intended strike.
In a statement, Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis welcomed the court’s dismissal of the interdict application and the granting of the order.
“This will put an end to misinformation about the exact terms agreed to and lessen the potential for conflict between taxi operators and officers on the road.
“This confirms our view that there is a firm legal basis for the impoundments in the interests of commuter safety.”
He said the task team would meet on Tuesday 22 August.
“I trust SANTACO will be represented at this very important meeting. It is in the interest of thousands of commuters that we keep on collaborating on matters of mutual concern,” he said.
SANTACO Western Cape Deputy Chair Nceba Enge said the association felt vindicated in its view that taxis can only be impounded on the three grounds agreed upon.
“We remain hopeful that the stakeholders can now put this issue behind us all and focus on the task ahead for the task team.”
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