The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Mr Mxolisi Kaunda has announced an extension of the suspension of taxi operations in Ladysmith for a further six (6) months today.
The decision, which Kaunda made in terms section 91 of the National Land Transport Act, Act No. 5 of 2009, was approved by the Provincial executive council today after the two feuding associations, Klipriver Taxi Association and Sizwe Transport have failed to reach an agreement on the disputed routes.
The announcement that Kaunda made on 7 December 2017 following the killing of more than 60 people in the area, is expiring tomorrow on 7 June 2018. The extension of the suspension will not affect the uncontested routes which include the local and Johannesburg routes.
The provincial government strongly believes that the extension of the suspension will persuade the operators to come back to the negotiation table and find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
“Our doors will remain open for the two associations to present a peace agreement that will allow them to continue operating peacefully. If the peace agreement is not forthcoming, I will be forced to implement drastic measures which include withdrawing operating licences for individuals who are perpetuating violence in the industry,” said Kaunda.
Since Kaunda announced the suspension in December last year, no lives have been lost in the area due to taxi violence.
“As government we will continue to take drastic measures to stabilise the taxi industry to ensure that no lives are lost. Police will be all over uMnambithi tomorrow to ensure that the contested routes remain closed,” said Kaunda. He also warned against this matter being used for cheap political point scoring.
South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) has welcomed the decision by the Provincial Executive Council to extend the suspension of operations in the area following their failed efforts to persuade the two associations to sign a peace agreement.