Minibus taxi services in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, will be suspended indefinitely starting on Monday, following a breakdown in negotiations between taxi bosses and the City of Cape Town.
Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta) spokesperson Besuthu Ndungane said that commuters travelling from Khayelitsha to Cape Town should find alternative transport.
“We are suspending our own taxis because we have a right to withhold services. The City of Cape Town clearly doesn‘t value our contribution to the economy,” he said.
Codeta has distanced itself from any suggestion of violence as a result of the suspension, however, it does acknowledge the possibility.
“We have told our members that the intention of the suspension is not to engage in malicious behaviour. Our members remain disciplined. But suspended services mean no money. The City has created an angry taxi industry and they must be the ones to control it,” Ndungane said.
This suspension is in reaction to the extension of an operating contract, the N2 Express Joint Venture.
City negotiated ‘in bad faith‘
This contract regulates the operation of MyCiti buses between Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha and the Civic Centre station since 2014.
The N2 Express Joint Venture includes Golden Arrow Bus Service and minibus taxi associations Codeta in Khayelitsha and Route 6 Taxi Association in Mitchells Plain.
Annual negotiations for the extension of the contract fell apart when Codeta refused to support it.
“We believe that the City has negotiated with us in bad faith, with the purpose of enriching [certain parties],” Ndungane told News24.
“We cannot sign the contract because there were obligations that were supposed to be met by the City of Cape Town and none of them were actioned. We used a lot of resources to review the contract in 2017 and presented it to the City and it was dismissed.”
Another point of contention in the contract is the rollout of MyCiti bus services to Phase 2A in the Metro South-east, Wynberg and Claremont in future.
4 000 commuters stranded
“These services should not be amalgamated because it will affect the operators in Wynberg and Claremont. These services were introduced as a top-up, but it has changed form over the years,” Ndungane said.
Mayoral committee member for transport Brett Herron has urged all shareholders to come to an agreement.
“Up to 4 000 commuters from Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha rely on the N2 express service to get to work and back every day,” he said.
“I, therefore, again, request the JV (N2 Express Joint Venture) partners and shareholders to please work together so that we can keep on providing the same world-class service to our commuters. We remain committed to addressing their concerns and to finding lasting solutions.”
Codeta submitted a list of six demands to the City and has committed itself to suspending all services until all parties come to an agreement.
“We would like the decision-makers to be involved with negotiations. We cannot negotiate without the department of transport at the table,” Ndungane said.