Tensions over transport in Mamelodi resolved

Santaco says it no longer needs Operation Fiela as tensions over transport have been resolved.

FILE: Hundreds of commuters waiting in vain in the freezing cold for taxis on the sides of roads following a taxi strike in Mamelodi on 9 July 2015. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) has said tensions over transport in Mamelodi have been resolved, and no longer require intervention from Operation Fiela.

After closed meeting with the Gauteng government on Friday afternoon, taxi bosses said the Gauteng Premier has agreed to work with them to create a more integrated industry.

Taxi operators accused David Makhura of fueling tensions between themselves and newly appointed bus operator Autopax.

This is after Makhura said he stood behind his statements that government will send the military to Mamelodi if necessary.

The council said the premier has also agreed to release all 55 impounded taxis, once drivers have shown the relevant documents.

The vehicles were taken after violent protests against the introduction of Autopax to replace Putco.

Secretary General Ralph Jones said the premier has assured taxi bosses they will be included in all public transport plans in the province going forward.

"Within three months a lot is going to be done, inclusive of empowerment and capacitation of the taxi industry. And we're not just going to concentrate on Mamelodi, let us open our networks so that we should be inclusive, so we'll be talking Gauteng, hence provincial."

Earlier this week, hundreds of people were left stranded after the National Taxi Alliance went on strike, over routes and impounded taxis.

The NTA's Alpheus Mlalazi said provincial government was targeting the taxi industry unfairly.

"It's not even a showdown, it's cry for help. Allow us the operating space so that we can continue to do what we're doing."