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e-Hailing and metered taxi operators violence - Province urges compliance
Gauteng Premier David Makhura met up with law enforcement agencies to discuss interventions to put an end to the on-going violence between Uber and metered taxi drivers. The Premier was joined by MEC for Roads and Transport Dr Ismail Vadi, MEC for Community Safety Ms Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane and MEC for Finance Ms Barbara Creecy. The meeting took place on Sunday, 17 September 2017.
 
Premier Makhura said that “over the last few weeks there has been a huge escalation of violence between Uber and metered taxi drivers which has reached proportions that seek to threaten peace and stability in the province. It is for this reason that we felt the need to convene this meeting with law enforcement agencies that include traffic officers, police chief, SAPS commanders as well as state security,” said Makhura.
 
He further urged all law enforcement agencies to impound operators that engage in acts of violence adding that ‘we will work tirelessly to end the violence”. He added there is increased police visibility at the identified hotspots for Uber, metered taxi violence in Tshwane, OR Tambo International Airport and Sandton.
 
The territorial warfare between operators is volatile as over 300 sporadic incidents of violence have been reported - Tshwane (204); Johannesburg (86) and Ekurhuleni (4).
 
Crimes committed included murder, attempted murder, arson, assault, assault (GBH), theft, robbery, hijacking of vehicles and verbal intimidation.
 
The premier also appealed to all operators of public transport operators to comply in an effort to clamp down on illegal operators. To date a total of 66 vehicles have been impounded, 43 of these were Uber, 8 meter taxis and 15 minibus taxis.
 
The metered taxi service is regulated by Section 66 of the National Land Transport Act 2009, currently being amended to accommodate “e-hailing services” which legally allows for the registration of technology-based public transport operations.
 
In the interim the closest form of legislated and regulated public transport for Uber (e-hailing services) is that of metered taxi service. This will seek to legitimize operations and place them on an equally regulated footing with other public transport operators.
 
“Prior to 2007 the metered taxi industry was not registered on the Registration Administration System (RAS).The RAS is a system dedicated to the minibus taxi industry to enable their regulation and capturing of routes.” The formal registration of metered taxis started in 2007.
 
There are 2909 meter taxi operators on the records of the Department of Roads and Transport, the bulk of which are not compliant. There are approximately 500 metered taxis with permits since 2007.
 
Between May 2016 and July 2017, the Department received a total of 2321 applications for the operating licenses from Uber partner drivers (e-hailing services). 624 have been approved and a further 209 are pending approval.
 
Premier Makhura added that a special police task force will be established to bring the situation under control. National Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula has committed to support the province.
 
Meanwhile, the Premier also appointed a special cabinet committee tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the taxi industry is integrated into broader public transport system. The members include MECs Ismail Vadi, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, Lebogang Maile and Paul Mashatile.
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