Rafeek Shah, MPL
DA KZN Spokesperson on Transport
Transport MEC, Willies Mchunu must urgently and constructively engage with the KZN Transport Alliance to avoid further disruption and chaos to the Durban CBD area which was last week the scene of mayhem following damage to property and the assault of members of the public as a result of protest action by the Alliance.
The DA strongly condemns this. Such action is harmful to the economic life of the city and the province. While we respect the right to embark on any form of legitimate protest, including marches, this must be done in a peaceful and orderly manner within the confines of the law.
The increase in violent protest action on the part of the taxi industry is symptomatic of a lack of proper communication and trust between the Taxi Industry and the Department of Transport.
On the face of it, the Alliance seemingly has some legitimate grievances. Their demands for the decentralisation of the issuing of operating licenses as well and a reasonable stake in “Go Durban”, the planned integrated rapid transport network system, are worthy of consideration.
Of serious concern however are the conflicting statements emanating from both parties. While the Alliance has accused the MEC of failing to streamline the issuing of taxi operating licenses the department’s spokesperson insists that it is in the process of opening new offices in five District Municipalities.
The Alliance also claims that it is being left out of the Rapid Public Transport Project yet an eThekwini Spokesperson insists that this allegation is unfounded and that all concerns raised by the Alliance were addressed at a recent Taxi Indaba. The Alliance continuously and categorically denies this and is threatening to go on strike, unless their grievances were addressed within the next 10 days.
A solution must be found. The safety of ordinary citizens along with the economic life of Durban is at risk.