COSATU requests urgent intervention of the CCMA to facilitate negotiations to resolve the devastating taxi standoff in the Western Cape

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has written to the Director of the CCMA, the Ministers for Police and Transport, the Premier of the Western Cape and the Mayor of Cape Town urging requesting the urgent intervention of the CCMA to facilitate negotiations to resolve the devastating taxi standoff in the Western Cape.

The current taxi standoff is having a massive impact all parties.  The Federation is appalled by the horrific levels of violence where workers have been injured and tragically 5 lives have been lost.  Millions of workers are struggling to get to work and earn a salary and take care of their families.  Bus drivers have been shot at and are living in fear of their lives.  Traffic officers have been assaulted.  Business owners have lost property and will struggle to pay staff.  Taxi drivers need to work to earn their daily wages.  Diplomatic missions are now advising tourists on the situation.  All of these are having a devastating impact on workers, learners, students and the economy. 

The taxi industry is the backbone of public transport and millions of working-class communities depend upon it to travel to work, school, universities, churches, mosques etc.  We appreciate it as one of the few Black led industries and that has received little support from the state as compared to the huge subsidies that other modes of transportation receive from government.

We believe that the concerns of the taxi industry need to be engaged upon and resolved, namely their belief that the City has been excessive in its impounding of taxis.

We appreciate the need for the City to enforce compliance with legislation by all parties and to protect the lives and property of all commuters and the public.

The Federation believes that some progress has been made in engagements between the national, provincial and local government, the industry and stakeholders.  However, we remain deeply concerned that the matters have yet to be resolved more than a week after the standoff took place.  Given the matters at stake for all parties, we cannot afford any further delays.  We are also concerned that not all parties are involved in the engagements.

COSATU is therefore requesting that the CCMA be tasked to urgently assist with the negotiations as our legislated conciliation and mediation institution.  We believe that this can help expedite engagements and reach a positive solution that addresses all concerns.

Beyond this current crisis, we need to have a national discussion on formalising the taxi industry.  This must include providing it with the same level of support that other forms of transportation receive from the state, and that the industry complies with all legal requirements, e.g. traffic, taxation and labour laws.  Taxi drivers are subject to unacceptable levels of exploitation in violation of our labour laws from limits on working hours, overtime pay, paid leave, occupational health and safety, minimum wage, unemployment and injury on duty insurance and collective bargaining.  At the heart of the interminable crisis in the taxi industry is that taxi owners demand drivers deliver exorbitant fees to them daily and only after they have paid these are the drivers and other taxi workers then paid.  This is why drivers then feel the need to drive as fast as possible to ensure that they are able to collect enough fares daily to then be able to take care of their families.  If we continue to treat this crisis as business as usual, then we should not be surprised why we have these violent flare ups time and again.

Its time government dealt with this crisis and stopped sleepwalking its way through life.

Issued by COSATU

For further information please contact:
Matthew Parks
Acting National Spokesperson & Parliamentary Coordinator
Cell: 082 785 0687