Commuters stranded as taxi associations do battle

Commuters have been left stranded amid the Nanduwe and WATA taxi dispute. Picture: Mvuyisi Qomoyi (Facebook supplied)

Commuters have been left stranded amid the Nanduwe and WATA taxi dispute. Picture: Mvuyisi Qomoyi (Facebook supplied)

Published Apr 9, 2024


The war between two Soweto taxi associations, Nancefield-Dube West Taxi Association (Nanduwe) and Witwatersrand Taxi Association (WATA), has forced commuters to seek alternative means of transport since Monday.

This comes as the two associations have been at loggerheads, resulting in taxi violence that has placed the lives of passengers in danger.

Lesiba Mpya, the spokesperson for Gauteng MEC for Transport and Logistics Kedibone Diale-Tlabela, said on Tuesday that the taxi war between Nanduwe and WATA had been an ongoing matter since 2013 and sanctions were continuously imposed to end the war.

“The associations have been in conflict since 2013, prompting different authorities imposing sanctions, from closing ranks and routes, dissolution of executive committees and appointment of administrators to administer the association’s daily admin affairs,” he said.

Seventy-four fatalities have been confirmed by WATA since the start of the conflict in 2013.

Mpya said the routes affected included White City, Mofolo, Mncube Drive in Dube and Orlando West.

Diale-Tlabela held an imbizo with stakeholders last month in Meadowlands Zone 9, Soweto, to control the disputes between the associations.

She explained that the war was incited due to operational permits of pick-up points and routes, including a corruption syndicate that duplicated operational permits. There had also been legal disputes between the parties.

“The court order of the parties might create problems, and we might have more killings happening. The court order favours one over the other. In our consultations, Nanduwe has old court orders that were never implemented, but WATA has court orders, ordering not to be threatened by Nanduwe,” she said.

Diale-Tlabela was in the process of publishing a notice in the provincial gazette indicating her intention to close down taxi ranks and routes affected by Nanduwe and WATA in terms of section 91 of the National Land Transport Act.

The mother body of the taxi industry, the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco), commented on its role in ending the violence between the two parties.

“Santaco has been engaging with MEC Kedibone Diale-Tlabela on the matter. The provincial government established arbitration process, which the taxi industry is proudly part of.

“Santaco has been actively involved, where the regional leadership engaged our affiliates in an effort to first establish the core issues and possible solutions,” said Santaco Gauteng chairperson Midday Mali.

He added: “There have been resolutions and unfortunately, some members go against resolutions to uphold peace between the two aggrieved parties. Santaco has continued to be deeply involved in efforts to resolve conflict in Soweto.”

Mali said Santaco had requested submissions by other affected taxi associations to shut down operating licences of WATA and Nanduwe to the Gauteng Department of Transport and Roads. The last time a suspension of operation occurred in affected Soweto areas, it lasted for six months during the leadership of Jacob Mamabolo as former MEC of Transport and Logistics.

The Star asked how the department and Santaco would prevent further taxi violence in future, to which Mpya and Mali responded and concurred that conflict management, the rule of law and engagement with the department would resolve taxi disputes.

“What we believe will help avoid potential clashes in the industry, is for the government to speedily award operating licences in time, and equally attend to suspected corruption in the awarding of routes to associations.

“This causes conflict between associations, such as Soweto. There is suspected corruption where associations have awarded rights to operate the same route, which is unacceptable,” said Mali.

The Star

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