MEC of Transport and Public Works has decided to close route B97 between Paarl and Bellville after taxi associations failed to reach an agreement to stop fighting. Picture: Leon Lestrade
MEC of Transport and Public Works has decided to close route B97 between Paarl and Bellville after taxi associations failed to reach an agreement to stop fighting. Picture: Leon Lestrade

Transport MEC Daylin Mitchell closes Route B97 between Paarl and Bellville

By Velani Ludidi Time of article published Jul 23, 2021

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Cape Town - MEC of Transport and Public Works has decided to close route B97 between Paarl and Bellville.

Route 97 is currently the cause of conflict between taxi associations Cata and Codeta, who both claim to have the right to operate on the route. Despite ongoing attempts to assist the two associations to finding a lasting solution, they have yet to do so.

“I officially announce my decision to close Route B97 between Mbekweni/Paarl and Bellville. This will be effective from Monday, 26 July 2021,” said Mitchell.

The decision follows his publication of notice in the Government Gazette dated July 9 (Government Notice 416 of 2021) that Bellville and Paarl are areas in respect of which extraordinary measures in terms of Section 91 may be made. Over 80 people have died since the start of the year due to the conflict over the route.

Thousands of commuters were left stranded after minibus taxis pulled and buses followed suit after the violence spilt over. Now buses that are running a limited service have to be escorted by law enforcement when transporting commuters.

“I have carefully considered all submissions in this respect, and after consultation with the SAPS, the premier, and the national minister of transport, believe this to be the correct course of action,” said Mitchell.

The route will be closed for two months. Many will wonder what does this mean and how will they be affected. Following the announcement, as of Monday, July 26, the following will apply on the route: Under section 91(2)(a) of the Act, all routes and ranks, including lanes and long-distance route facilities situated at the Bellville Public Transport Interchange, are closed for the operation of any minibus taxi-type service for a period of two months, commencing on July 26.

Under section 91(2)(b) of the Act, any operating licence or permit authorising any minibus taxi-type service on a closed route or at a closed rank contemplated in paragraph (a) is suspended for the duration of the closure period.

Under section 91(2)(c) of the Act, and subject to paragraph (e), no person may, for the duration of the closure period, undertake any minibus taxi-type services on a closed route or at a closed rank contemplated in paragraph (a), or in terms of an operating licence or permit suspended as contemplated in paragraph (b).

Under section 91(5) of the Act, a current minibus taxi operator who contravenes this Notice, or fails to comply therewith, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of R5 000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months.

Under section 91(6) of the Act, a temporary permit may be issued to an operator of a motor vehicle, minibus or minibus to operate a minibus service taxi-type service, or to an operator of a bus to operate a bus service, on a closed route or at a closed rank during the closure period in substitution for the prohibited services contemplated in paragraph (a).

“We can longer be held hostage by a criminal few who continue to undermine the interests of many law-abiding taxi drivers and who threaten both the lives and livelihoods of our residents. I have sworn an oath to act in the best interests of our people and will continue to do so, using every mechanism available to me,” said Mitchell.

Weekend Argus

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