City impounds 14 taxis over weekend

The City’s traffic services impounded 14 taxi vehicles over the weekend. File picture: Armand Hough /African News Agency(ANA).

The City’s traffic services impounded 14 taxis at the weekend, mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said in a statement.

This followed a week-long strike by the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) over the impoundments of taxis. The strike was called off last Thursday after the City and the provincial government reached an agreement with Santaco.

The impoundments were done in compliance with the agreement that the City had with Santaco, Mr Smith said.

“Only one was contrary to the agreement with Santaco (for significant overloading – four passengers more than the act permits) and this vehicle was released because it had not been processed yet,” he said.

The other taxis were impounded for serious offences under the National Land Transport Act (NLTA) for vehicles driving without an operating licence; or on the incorrect route; or without a driver’s licence or professional driving permit; or which were not roadworthy, Mr Smith said.

The standard operating procedure on the exercise of the discretionary power provided for in the NLTA would be finalised by the taxi task team within the next 14 days.

He said the taxi task team – made up of Santaco, the City and provincial government – would define a list of additional major offences that would result in impoundments and less serious offences where fines would be issued.

“We also cannot allow leadership (of) Santaco to misrepresent the facts of the agreement to taxi owners or drivers (e.g. by telling them that no vehicles may be impounded as was done during this past weekend) as this creates the conditions for confrontation on the streets when officers implement the exact agreement Santaco accepted last week,” Mr Smith said.

Santaco spokesperson Makhosandile Tumana said: “It became very clear to us that the law enforcement actions against the taxi industry were unlawful. Most of our taxis were impounded wrongfully, even what happened on Saturday was not on what (was) agreed on Thursday.

“We resolved that law enforcement or traffic officers must stop impounding vehicles for 14 days while we are busy navigating the serious offences or minor offences. That’s where the task team is going to work in this period of 14 days.”