MEC’s resignation won’t affect taxi arbitration, says department

The provincial Department of Transport and Public Works is confident the resignation of former MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela will have no affect on a taxi-conflict arbitration.

Bonginkosi Madikizela’s resignation as Transport and Public Works MEC will have no impact on the arbitration process established to resolve a 2017 taxi conflict between Kraaifontein and Bellville taxi ranks over routes, says the department.

Meanwhile, the arbitrator has released a report to the relevant taxi associations, but the department has kept it under wraps.

Department spokesman Jandre Bakker said a report with recommendations had been sent to the relevant parties.

Gun violence broke out at the Bellville taxi rank in 2017 and 2018 over taxi routes.

At the behest of Mr Madikizela and the two major provincial taxi associations, Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and Convention for Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta), an arbitration process was started in 2018.

IOL in 2018 reported the week-long closure of Bellville and Bloekombos taxi ranks after a tug of war over operating routes.

Kraaifontein-based Cata-affiliate BloeWata (Bloekombos/Wallacedene taxi association) would meet next week to discuss the arbitration process, taxi boss and spokesman Mawethu Sila said.

He said he was unable to give further details about the arbitration process at this stage.

Mr Sila said Mr Madikizela had always expressed confidence in the arbitration, but taxi bosses had complained that it had taken too long while their taxis without permits had been impounded by the City’s law enforcement.

Taxi ranks have found new routes since 2017, but taxi owners claim the arbitration process has made it hard for them to obtain permits.

Mr Bakker denied the process was in limbo, saying that while it had been started at the behest of the former MEC it had been conducted by an independent arbitrator who was also a member of the Bar and whose appointment had been backed by both parties from the start.

The arbitration process had already tabled recommendations, which both Cata and Codeta had agreed to, but which might be challenged in court, he said.

Pressed on what the recommendations were, Mr Bakker said: “As mentioned, the recommendations may still be challenged so out of respect for the process, we will not be speaking on the recommendations at this stage.”

An intergovernmental steering committee had been set up to implement the recommendations, he said.

The acting MEC for Transport and Public Works Albert Fritz and Mr Madikizela’s replacement would be briefed on the recommendations, he said.

Both parties had been advised to appoint legal counsel so they could state their cases, he said.