We've got news for you.

Register on SowetanLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

Joburg, taxi bosses sign deal to settle disputes in the industry

Drivers to benefit through training

Mpho Koka Journalist
City of Johannesburg transport MMC Kenny Kunene and Velanto Thwala from taxi association SANTACO during the signing of the protocol document to guide the consultation process between the taxi industry and the city.
City of Johannesburg transport MMC Kenny Kunene and Velanto Thwala from taxi association SANTACO during the signing of the protocol document to guide the consultation process between the taxi industry and the city.
Image: Thulani Mbele

The City of Joburg and the taxi industry have signed an agreement to guide associations on how to settle their disputes.

Joburg MMC for transport Kenny Kunene and taxi bosses yesterday inked a protocol document that will see the city getting involved and giving guidance on how taxi operators engage with each other and to also promote good conduct between taxi drivers and commuters.

The 11-page document was signed by Kunene, South African National Taxi Council Greater Johannesburg Region (Santaco GJR) and Joburg Gauteng National Taxi Alliance chairperson (JGNTA) in Braamfontein yesterday. The document outlines how operators should, in cases of a dispute, first communicate the problem by writing to one another and try to resolve it within seven days.

“Failure by the party at fault to remedy the situation will results in the breakdown of the relationship of the parties, which will kick-start the mediation and conciliation process,” reads the document.

The reconciliation process will include both parties identifying an independent person who can conciliate the dispute and then the the city’s group legal and contracts will appoint that to mediate. The city will bear the cost of mediation and conciliation.

“The transport department and regional taxi structures representatives agree that identifying mechanisms for co-operation and liaison will benefit parties, public transport operations and will result in improved levels of service for the commuters.”

Although not stated in the document, all parties said they hoped the agreement would improve the conduct of taxi drivers at taxi ranks and when ferrying passengers.

Veli Thwala, chairperson of Santaco, said his organisation received countless complaints from commuters about their drivers: “There are incidents where drivers beat passengers and sometimes our drivers shout at fellow Africans who are unable to speak the common language in the area and can only speak English. This training will help our drivers to learn to find ways to communicate properly with passengers,” said Thwala. He said the partnership would help the city and the industry to come up with solutions to deal with crime and filth at taxi ranks.

“We signed this document because Santaco has 54 associations. It is impossible for the city to engage all of them. We need to have a structure that will allow us to communicate with the city,” said Thwala.

Kunene said the signing of the agreement was aimed at creating one structure that the city would engage with when it wanted to communicate with the taxi industry.

“This particular agreement was necessitated by the fact that the taxi industry uses our roads and the taxi industry is a critical stakeholder to economic development of our city. We needed to have partnership that is formalised and structured. Now the city does not have to engage taxi associations individually.

“For example, if there are routes that are hijacked by people who do not belong to these specific associations, we will speedily be informed by that and engage the metro police to deal with the situation before violence erupts.” he said. Kunene.

“A part of the agreement is to assist with driver training, which is an investment by the city. This partnership will assist associations to avail their drivers for programmes we will be running in partnership with universities in the city. The behaviour of the drivers and customer service is important so that they understand that these are my clients and need to be treated better,” he said. added Kunene.

Sabelo Moya of JGNTA said: “The training of our drivers and queue marshals on how to treat customers and behave around fellow drivers will be very beneficial to the taxi industry.,” Moya said.


Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.