16 December 2020
Gauteng- MEC for Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure Jacob Mamabolo has issued a stern warning to taxi operators who forcefully take money and remove members of the public from private cars to stop with their nefarious activities or face permanent closure.
This follows an increasing number of complaints from the public against taxi associations who continue to intimidate, rob and harass private operators and the public.
Addressing taxi operators at the Gauteng National Taxi Alliance’s Festive Season Road Safety Campaign event in Hammanskraal, MEC Mamabolo warned that any association found to be using force and intimidation to take money from the public will face automatic dissolution.
“Taxi associations operating as para-military forces, robbing, intimidating and taking law into their own hands, will face permanent closure and members barred from operating or forming a new association”.
“This practice is totally criminal and cannot be accepted. Once proven in the court of law that an association has been involved in these criminal activities, we will not hesitate to deregister and blacklist it from operating permanently,” said Mamabolo.
He further reiterated that taxi operators cannot, in any way, force commuters to make use of their services as the public has a right to choose a mode to use.
“The taxi industry has gone overboard in respect to its violence culture. We will not allow the industry to operate through armed gangs feeding criminally from the public. This is the worst form of criminality to be directed to members of the public.”
Mamabolo said that,”We encourage the taxi industry to report incidents where people are found to be transporting commuters for cash without permits. They should not take the law into their own hands as there is no basis in our law for anyone to operate as para-military”.
Mamabolo called on law enforcement agencies to protect witnesses who open criminal cases, not divulge their details and act swiftly to bring perpetrators to book.