Kamogelo Seekoei and Tebogo Monama
Violence between bus and taxi operators on Louis Botha Avenue in Johannesburg has been suspended for seven days, with taxi drivers insisting they have the right to determine who may use this route to the city centre.
Attacks by taxi operators on buses have stopped pending an investigation into their allegations that buses operated on the route without permits.
For the past two weeks taxi operators have hauled terrified passengers off buses and forced them into their minibuses and have stoned buses that refused to stop.
The Alexandra Taxi Association (ATA) and the Alexandra-Randburg-Midrand-Sandton Taxi Association (Armsta) are accused of being at the centre of the violence.
The taxi operators yesterday agreed to suspend their attacks after a meeting with other parties in Alexandra in Johannesburg.
The provincial transport department which brokered the peace agreement has formed a task team comprising representatives of the bus companies, taxi operators and the SAPS to monitor compliance with the accord.
In terms of the agreement bus operators - Putco, MegaBus and Gauteng Coaches - are expected to submit their contracts and permits to the task team tomorrow.
The task team are then to investigate whether the buses be allowed to continue operating on the route.
Terence Tshwaelo, acting public transport registrar in Gauteng, said: "The violence will stop and the buses will be escorted by metro police.
"Taxi associations' cars will also monitor the situation," he said.
When asked what right the taxi men had to demand contracts from the bus companies, Tshwaelo said: "The department of transport is also entitled to know the details."
Tshwaelo said the department already had the taxi associations' permits on file.
Mokgatle Mnisi of Armsta conceded that some taxis did not have permits to operate in Alexandra.
Police spokesman Eugene Opperman said the police were patrolling the route to ensure violence did not flare up again.
But he refused to comment on the legality of the task team demanding to see the bus companies' contracts.
Bus companies were also reluctant to comment on the matter.
Matlakala Manota of Putco said her company was waiting for the task team's written request.
"Our major concern is the safety of our workers and passengers," she said.