‘Taxi owners must own up to drivers’ behaviour’

Two Gauteng MECs are meeting to discuss issues facing the taxi industry, including commuter safety.

FILE: Ten people were treated for injuries after two taxis collided in Diepsloot on 13 April 2016. Picture: ER24EMS via Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane says law enforcement authorities are unhappy with the lack of regulation by taxi owners over their drivers.

A meeting between Nkosi-Malobane, Transport MEC Ismail Vadi and taxi bosses is underway, and is aimed at discussing issues faced by the industry, including the safety of commuters on roads.

This comes after three people were wounded outside the Mall of Africa during a shootout, apparently over a taxi route.

MEC Nkosi-Malobane has taken aim at taxi owners here today, saying it's not enough for drivers to always be blamed for breaking the rules of the road.

"You are also aware what they are doing and you don't hear that you, as the owners of these vehicles, discipline these people."

She says drivers should also be vetted for whether they are fit to drive vehicles and should also have criminal records checked.

She has emphasised that law enforcement authorities will not hesitate to have unroadworthy vehicles and unfit drivers permanently removed from Gauteng's roads.

Taxi owners attending an industry summit have told authorities that they too have failed to uphold the law.

Both MECs and owners have had an opportunity to share their grievances, including the behaviour of taxi drivers.

There have been frank discussions about the challenges facing the industry, including the recurring violence that affects commuters.

A taxi boss has accused transport MEC Vadi of ignoring their issues, which he says often results in people dying.

"Once we complain about these issues, then our cars get impounded."

The community safety MEC has also called on taxi owners to treat their employees better, as this has an impact on the attitude that drivers have toward commuters.