The time for talking and meetings is over.
We need action.
The taxi gangsters have had free reign for too long now and finally brought the Western Cape to a standstill this week.
Yes, the minibuses have long been a law unto themselves and menaced our roads.
But this has gone too far. Now is the time for a major clean-up of the industry.
At least 80 people have been killed this year as rival drivers from Cata and Codeta pick each other off in shooting attacks.
This brought taxi services to a halt this month.
But it was when the attacks spilled over to Golden Arrow buses and even e-hailing this week, that the authorities had a wake-up.
These criminals are not just wiping each other out, they want to shut down the province’s transport system.
The scenes this week were the worst we’ve seen.
Thousands of people stranded at bus stops and stations, trying to get to work and home – in the cold and wet of winter.
The province’s Transport and Public Works Department has been in meetings with Santaco, Cata and Codeta.
Then national transport minister Fikile Mbalula flew in for more talks.
No sooner are the negotiation sessions concluded and ceasefires agreed than more incidences of murder and mayhem are reported.
They’re mos taking everyone for a gat.
This week, Western Cape leaders started making their stemme dik.
MEC Albert Fritz called the taxi attackers “terrorists” and Premier Alan Winde said the thugs who have been holding Kaapse mense ransom need to be arrested locked up.
Transport MEC Daylin Mitchell – shame, he’s new on the job – announced new measures to punish the taxi industry. These include:
Shutting down ranks and routes;
Stopping the financial support of Santaco and placing them under administration;
Approaching the courts to have taxi bodies’ operations confined to specific geographical areas;
And Blue Dot incentive payments are suspended.
Good. Hit them where it hurts – their pockets.
But does this make drivers and commuters feel any safer on the roads? No.
These armed skollies really think they own our roads.
We need to show them who’s in charge.
We need to fight fire with fire.
If we don’t already have a special police task team investigating the murders and making arrests, establish one now.
We need increased police presence at transport interchanges, taxi ranks and bus stations.
Major routes must be patrolled and secured.
And for heaven’s sake, get JP Smith and his Traffic Services team on the beat.
They need to put down their ticket books and get out on the road and help keep our commuters safe.
Get everyone involved. Even the SANDF.
* Disclaimer: The harsh criticism in this column is aimed at the few criminals terrorising the transport industry – not the many law-abiding taxi drivers and owners in the province.