Jump-start for taxi talks that hit dead end

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

KwaZulu-Natal transport MEC Bheki Cele will meet warring taxi operators near Empangeni today in a last-ditch effort to end the conflict.

The war between Esikhawini and KwaDlangezwa taxi associations since March has left seven people dead and scores injured.

Last week Cele ordered that the two bodies cease all operations on some 30 routes.

Yesterday a meeting between Esikhawini and Cele reached a dead end when Cele said they were operating on a "fraudulent" permit and should not be on their rival's route.

Esikhawini had applied for a new permit that could take three weeks to be issued.

Nhliziyo Dlamini, Esikhawini chairman, said his association would not back down.

"We acknowledged that the problem is the permit, but these were given to us by the Transport Registrar Board in Pietermaritzburg.

"We have no problem with Kwa-Dlangezwa operating in this area - they can drop off but not park and take on passengers at our rank."

Thulani Mkhwanazi, chairman of KwaDlangezwa, said his family was still in pain after his brother Mbusiseni was gunned down last week.

"I fail to understand why people are killed over routes. We started this route and have permits too."

IFP national chairman Zanele Magwaza-Msibi said: "We are totally against any violence in this important and lucrative industry but we believe that the closure of the routes will cause major disruptions in the daily activities of people."

She was concerned that matric pupils would be severely affected.