30 taxi operators in George bus-torching protest ordered off road
A minibus taxi operating licence was cancelled and 37 were suspended for up to 18 months on Friday after an inquiry into violence that led to buses being torched in George‚ in the Southern Cape.
Thirty of the 32 operators who appeared before an inquiry were found guilty of violating licence conditions and the code of conduct for minibus-taxi operators.
During the protest in August 2015‚ roads were barricaded‚ road infrastructure was damaged and four Go George buses were set alight.
CCTV footage and police reports were used to identify vehicles used during the protest‚ and Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works spokesman Byron la Hoe said more taxi operators would face charges at a second inquiry by the provincial regulator.
The operators convicted on Friday were members of UNCEDO George Taxi Association.
Eighteen operating licences were suspended for six months‚ a further 18 for a year and one for 18 months.
The licences must be surrendered within a week and the vehicles described in the licences must be taken off the road.
“Where an affected vehicle is observed providing a public transport service it may result in the cancellation of the operating licence‚” said La Hoe.
“It is clear from the decision that any violent behaviour will not be tolerated. (This) will send a clear message to the industry at large about what is appropriate and inappropriate conduct.
“It is unfortunate that affected operators will not be able to generate an income during the suspension periods‚ but operators have to realise that there are consequences for illicit actions. The length of the suspension is an indication of how seriously we view these transgressions.”
— TMG Digital