Cape Town taxi strike called off as Santaco accepts resolution

Cape Town taxi strike called off as Santaco accepts resolution

August 12, 2023

The South African National Taxi Association Council (Santaco) has called off the Cape Town taxi strike after reaching an agreement with the government on Thursday.

This comes after Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, and senior government officials met with the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) in the province.

Several hours after the meeting ended on Thursday night, Santaco Western Cape chairperson Mandla Hermanus announced that the taxi strike had been called off “with immediate effect”.

“It is with profound relief that we announce the immediate cessation of the stay away. This comes after painstaking deliberations and immense pressure on all parties involved,” Hermanus said.

“It deeply saddens and disappoints us that it took this long for all parties to find a resolution. The wellbeing of our community and the public at large has always been our top priority, and it pains us to witness the unnecessary pain and suffering that transpired.”

He said part of the resolution reached between the taxi industry and the government was an agreement that the next 14 days would be utilised to work towards the release of vehicles that had been wrongly impounded.

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said the city appreciated the constructive approach the taxi association had taken at the meeting.

“It bears noting that Santaco today accepted the same proposal that the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government originally put on the table last Friday. The tragic implication is that all the violence, the deplorable loss of life, and the damage to property and to our local economy – all of it was for nought,” Hill-Lewis said.

“Last Friday, everything agreed today was on the table, when the strike was less than 24 hours old.”

According to the resolution:

• Impoundments under the NLTA will continue for vehicles driving without an operating licence, or on the incorrect route, or without a driver’s licence, or which are not roadworthy. The Taxi Task Team will further define a list, within 14 days, of additional major offences in terms of which vehicles will be impounded.

• The city will ensure that all traffic offences impacting commuter safety remain major offences as road safety for commuters and other road users is non-negotiable. 

• The taxi task team will compile a list of minor offences that do not have commuter safety implications, and which will not be impoundable.

“If Santaco believes that any of their taxis have been impounded for these minor offences, which we do not believe to be the case, then they can produce the relevant impoundment notices and we will make representations to the Public Prosecutor to support the release of these vehicles,” Hill-Lewis said.

Santaco has also agreed that it will never again call a strike during the middle of a working day, and that they will always give at least 36 hours’ notice ahead of planned strike action.

“We should never see a repeat of thousands of people being forced to walk home again,” he said, adding that disputes would in future be escalated directly to the premier and mayor.

“It is time for Santaco – and for all South Africans – to take to heart the lesson from the past week: violence will get us nowhere. While we deplore the impact of this entirely unnecessary strike, Cape Town has set an important precedent for South Africa’s future. By steadfastly refusing to capitulate before violence and anarchy, Cape Town has not conceded an inch on our commitment to the rule of law,” Hill-Lewis said.

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