In an unprecedented move to end the escalating taxi violence in the province, the taxi industry announced a close working relationship with the police to end the killings in the industry and to promote a culture of compliance with the law.
This bold move was announced in the KwaZulu-Natal Taxi Industry Imbizo which was held at the Durban Exhibition Centre in Durban. The Imbizo was a joint initiative of the industry, government, police, and other social partners.
The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) also launched a hotline number (066 116 1911) for members of the industry to report perpetrators of violence and those who are causing havoc in the taxi industry.
The Imbizo resolved to end the collection of money known as “ibhakede” which is usually controlled by those who are in the leadership of the association and which is often at the centre of tensions amongst taxi operators.
The taxi industry also announced that they would no longer be recruiting new members due to the oversaturation of the industry. Speaking at the Imbizo, Santaco Provincial Chairperson, Boy Zondi, called for killings to end, saying it was high time that the industry ran professionally like all businesses.
“For the first time in our gathering, we have so many police from all stations. The intention is to start a new working relationship to end bloodshed and violence. The illegal collection of money as the main source of conflict must end now. We will be working with the government and the police to clean up the industry and professionalize its operations. In all our 246 taxi associations we will be assisting in introducing new constitutions which will ensure compliance with the rule of law,” said Zondi.
Working with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport, the industry is piloting a cashless payment and digital operating license system. Amongst the participants in the Indaba were the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Sipho Hlomuka, eThekwini Mayor, Cllr Mxolisi Kaunda, SAPS management and station commanders, Santaco national leadership, Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (Psira) and representatives of all associations.
Addressing thousands of delegates, MEC Hlomuka, said the government is committed to working with the industry in addressing sources of violence and conflict. He further committed the police to working with the industry.
“The government is serious about ending killings in the industry. We are pleased that the industry is taking this matter head-on. Through these resolutions taken here today, we are positively optimistic that we will change the taxi industry in the province and build a reputable business,” said Hlomuka.
During the discussion, the Indaba also called for a review of the role of the security industry. Prisa also presented areas of intervention and improvement plans to hold security companies accountable.