Taxi services

W Cape government suspends minibus taxi services on the Paarl-Bellville route for 2 months amid deadly row

Police at the Cape Town station bridge after an alleged shooting involving rival taxi drivers on July 14.

Gallo Images/Brenton Geach

  • It was hoped the move would quell some of the ongoing violence that had left several people dead.
  • According to the provincial government, the road closure was to “bring stability to the public transport environment”.
  • Additional Golden Arrow bus journeys have been scheduled between Bellvillle and Paarl during the closure period.

Western Cape Transport MEC Daylin Mitchell has announced the suspension of the B97 taxi route between Paarl and Bellville for two months, starting Monday July 26, following ongoing taxi violence which has claimed dozens of lives this year.

“Two taxi ranks at Mbekweni, some local road loading lanes at the Bellville Public Transport Interchange (PTI), the Bellville PTI long distance facility, the “Paint City” station in Bellville and an informal station in Bellville were also closed to minibus taxis for two months,” Mitchell said.

He said:

I took this extraordinary step to end the violence between rival taxi associations that left 24 dead and 29 others injured, and to deal with major disruptions to public transport in the Southeast metropolitan area.

Additional Golden Arrow bus journeys are planned between Bellville and Paarl for both months. Commuters could also use existing Metrorail train services between Bellville and Paarl.

Passengers wishing to use a Golden Arrow bus to travel from Bellville PTI to Paarl have been advised to use the Voortrekker Road or Durban Road bus stops. These stops are approximately 800m from the Bellville PTI.

Mitchell said concerted attempts by multiple stakeholders to resolve the dispute between the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta) have failed.

READ | No agreement between Cata and Codeta in Cape Town taxi war

The department said the local Paarl Alliance Taxi Association (PATA), a subsidiary of Codeta, and CATA Boland have both claimed the right to operate the B97 road. However, Codeta said the government “failed” to “stick to the truth” when making the decision.

“The government knew very well who had the legal right to operate on this road, but made no attempt to stick to the truth,” Codeta spokesman Andile Khanyi told News24. He added that violence was inevitable after the Department of Transportation registered two rival associations on one route.

Khanyi added:

We have lost all hope in the government, especially in Fikile Mbalula because he has made no attempt to solve this problem ethically.

“They’re just punishing the association.”

Meanwhile, South African National Taxi Association (Santaco) spokesman Nazeem Abdurahman said the decision to suspend the minibus taxi route was taken in the interest of commuter safety .

“[The decision] is not very good because our members will lose jobs, however, we must respect the decision because too many people have died due to violence,” he added.

Abdurahman said a number of people were unhappy with the decision.

News24’s attempt to get comment from Cata failed.

“The closure of these lines and lanes should bring stability to the public transport environment in the affected areas and support the process of achieving lasting peace,” Mitchell added.

Did you know you can listen to articles? Subscribe to News24 to access this exciting feature and more.