More meetings planned to resolve dispute after taxi strike

A meeting is expected to take place between the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) and ANC members of the provincial legislature on Friday in an attempt to reach an agreement following a taxi strike in the Western Cape.

Minibuses returned to the roads in affected parts of the province on Tuesday after the one-day action which came about as a result of a clash over a conference that was supposed to have been held to resolve a leadership dispute over the provincial arm of Santaco, an umbrella body for taxi associations that liaises between the government and taxi associations regarding operational issues, funding and programmes relevant to the taxi industry.

ANC member of the provincial legislature (MPL) Cameron Dugmore told News24 on Tuesday that ANC MPLs, councillors and the police minister's special adviser, Lennit Max, had met with members of the minibus taxi industry task team (MTITT) where they were given a full briefing on their concerns.

On June 6 the Western Cape High Court ordered that Santaco convene a conference to resolve the Western Cape taxi industry's issues over leadership and differences over clauses in the Santaco constitution.

ALSO READ: Cape taxi strike called off

News24 previously reported on a long-standing leadership dispute related to an apparent conflict between the Santaco provincial and national constitution.

The associations in the province feel their views are not being reflected at a national level, causing a "leadership vacuum", decreased interaction between provincial and regional structures and taxi associations and a breakdown in trust. They also want clarity on the formula used to calculate how many individuals can be elected to provincial structures and how they qualify to be elected.

A strike on September 18 set in motion procedures for a pre-elective conference, which Besuthu Ndungane, on behalf of the MTITT, said was supposed to have started on Monday. However, Santaco had refused to honour the undertaking to convene the conference, he said.

Dugmore said representatives would meet with the Santaco director on Friday morning whereafter a meeting between both Santaco delegations and the MTITT would take place.

"We are playing a facilitative role to restore stability," Dugmore said.

He added that the group argued that their actions were not a strike, but "a withdrawal of their services".