Taxi industry must shed thug image

The taxi industry's brave actions helped to prevent more looting and damage, the writer says.
The taxi industry's brave actions helped to prevent more looting and damage, the writer says.
Image: Aron Hyman

The tragic and defining events of last week have dispelled any doubts that the ANC is no longer the leader of society. The ANC abandoned us in the hour of our greatest need. It betrayed Nelson Mandela's values and the constitution.

Its cowardice resulted in 800 stores looted, 150,000 jobs lost and close to R20bn loss. If the ANC is not the leader of society, who will lead us ? Who has our best interests at heart and would always put us first? Who will help SA prosper and share its wealth with all and not just their comrades, family and friends ?

The DA and EFF have failed the test. Remember what the EFF did to Clicks stores?

Can the taxi industry lead society? I do not think so. I am grateful for their stepping in when the ANC leaders vanished. Their brave actions helped to prevent more looting and damage. But I do not trust taxi bosses. To be a leader of society would mean they must lead by example and respect the rule of law, citizens and their competitors.

The current taxi violence in the Western Cape sends a frightening message about the industry. Seventy people are dead, more than 120,000 passengers affected, the Western Cape economy paralysed. Premier Alan Winde has harsh words for taxi bosses; he calls them "thugs" and "warlords". The stats support him.

Judge Jeremiah Shongwe's report on taxi violence in Gauteng was scathing. Taxi bosses are a "law unto themselves". In the first months of 2021, there are already 505 taxi violence-related cases in Gauteng, according to transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo. They are militarised. Inkabi (hitmen ) are their solution to disputes. Guns are the language of the industry. No province is spared of taxi violence.

The taxi industry has to shed its violent and Wild West image if it wants to be a leader of society. It cannot be a bully of society, choose which laws to obey or ignore. Disputes cannot be solved with violence. The era of inkabi and killings must end.

And please respect other road users and your passengers. Say "sorry" when wrong and "please" when talking to people. Is it too much to ask? 

Dr Lucas Ntyintyane

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