EFFORTS by the Western Cape taxi industry to foster unity among rival association have been shot down by one of the national bodies.
Provincial structures of the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) and National Taxi Alliance (NTA) signed an agreement on Tuesday to form one body to represent the taxi industry.
The pact meant that the NTA had been absorbed into the government-recognised Santaco.
NTA national spokesperson Alpheus Mlalazi said they considered the agreement to be nonexistent because they were not informed about the plans to sign it.
"We learnt about the agreement from the media. We do not recognise it since we were not told about it. To us it is some kind of political chequebook because even the members at grass roots level were not informed," Mlalazi said.
He said this was the third attempt to sign such an agreement to be turned down by the national office of the NTA.
But former NTA spokesperson in the province Mandla Mata said provinces were independent bodies which had the right to get into agreement that benefited them.
"We did not need the blessing of the national office because we are an autonomous body that can take decisions on its own," Mata said.
"We signed for the sake of peace and progress. We have been left out of many processes because the government recognises Santaco,"
Santaco national spokesperson Thabisho Molelekwa said the initiative was in line with their mandate to bring unity to an industry characterised by violence.
"This initiative means that we write off people who in the past have contributed to the culture of intolerance and violence to protect and advance individual interests," Molelekwa said,
"Bloodshed will be something of the past."
The agreement involved 9000 taxi operators from 152 associations. Talks between the two structures took place over 13 months.