Taxi war alert

Vusi Ndlovu

Vusi Ndlovu

A fresh taxi war could hit Soweto, partly because of the two new complexes in the township, one being Maponya Mall.

Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association (Nanduwe) chairman Sicelo Mabaso issued the warning following the opening of Maponya Mall last month.

Mabaso blames the authorities for the standoff over who should operate the routes to and from the two new malls.

The latest exchange has left thousands of commuters between Zola and Johannesburg stranded since Friday.

Nanduwe has blamed rival operators, the Witwatersrand Taxi Association (Wata) for preventing Soweto Taxi Services (STS) from operating from the Jabulani Mall route.

Mabaso said the problem was because STS claimed the route to and from Maponya Mall when it opened.

But he emphasised authorities could have prevented the problem.

"The City of Johannesburg and the Gauteng department of transport did not put plans for taxi facilities when they developed the malls," he said.

"This led to certain associations claiming sole operation rights for themselves. We told them this before these malls were opened but they dragged their feet.

"It's only when fighting starts that they will want to intervene yet they could have prevented this from happening," Mabaso said.

Gauteng transport registrar Sam Ledwaba confirmed that the malls were opened without designating the routes to particular operators.

Ledwaba said: "Taxis operating past Maponya Mall should continue. We are working on who should operate the route to Jabulani Mall. It's not true that we wait for violence to break out before we can act. We have been meeting the taxi operators to try and resolve this matter."

But City of Johannesburg spokesman Kgamanyane Maphologela said the taxis were already catered for because the malls were situated on existing routes.