Several taxi routes and ranks in Soweto and the Johannesburg CBD have officially been blocked by Gauteng roads and transport MEC Ismail Vadi as a result of ongoing conflict.
Vadi published the regulations in the provincial gazette on Wednesday, closing taxi routes and ranks that have been beset by violence, unrest and instability.
The Witwatersrand African Taxi Owners Association (WATA) and Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association (Nanduwe) have been at the centre of the ongoing conflict, Vadi said.
“Practically, what this means is that specific taxi ranks and routes in Soweto will be shut down from Friday morning, 15 March, for a period of three months, until 15 June this year,” said Vadi.
“This closure of these taxi ranks/routes arises from the ongoing conflict and violence between members of WATA and Nanduwe. It is necessary to shut down their minibus taxi services for the safety of commuters and residents of Soweto.”
Vadi recalled several reported of cases since the beginning of 2019 that pertain to the conflict between the two taxi associations.
These include a number of murder cases, several cases of malicious damage to property and one of public violence where six people were shot, seven vehicles damaged and one vehicle was burnt on March 5 this year.
He added that on March 11 around 300 taxi drivers believed to be linked to WATA and Nanduwe unlawfully used their vehicles to disrupt traffic in the Johannesburg CBD for several hours.
Vadi added that a person would be found guilty of an offence if they operated minibus taxi services in contravention of the temporary regulations.
“Where a person is convicted of contravening regulations, a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding R25 000 may be imposed.”