While the South African National Taxi Association (Santaco) has indicated that it intends to continue its operations as usual, the African National Congress (ANC) withdrew its support for the shutdown on Sunday, expressing opposition to any form of shutdown.
As per media reports, the decision to organize this shutdown comes in the wake of violent taxi strikes by operators and associations in August, primarily in response to the impounding of taxis.
Wandile Kasibe, the EFF’s provincial spokesperson, stated that they would present a memorandum during the protest. The memorandum demands the immediate release of all unjustly impounded minibusses, expeditious issuance of taxi operating permits and licenses by the city, and the elimination of excessive fines imposed on taxi drivers.
On the other hand, ANC provincial spokesperson Neville Delport discouraged their members from participating in the shutdown, emphasizing that the initial intention was for this to be a multi-party march against the unjust impoundment of taxis rather than a shutdown led by a single political party. Delport cited mixed messages in the media as a reason for the ANC’s withdrawal of support.
Kasibe expressed no surprise at the ANC’s decision and emphasized that their primary concern is addressing the issues affecting the local population.
City mayco Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, confirmed that the city was aware of the planned protest and noted that the EFF had applied for a peaceful protest permit. The permit includes specific conditions, such as refraining from intimidating City staff, not entering the Ndabeni pound, and excluding taxis from the procession. Smith also mentioned that the city has an operational plan in place to address any potential violence or traffic disruptions during the protest, utilizing technologies like drones and CCTV for effective response.
Jacques Moolman, President of the Cape Chamber, expressed hope for a peaceful protest. He acknowledged that the chamber shares many of the concerns outlined by the EFF, particularly regarding the energy crisis and the rising cost of living.
Moolman also raised concerns about the strained dialogue between the City and the taxi industry, which he believes contributed to the disruptive protests in various parts of the city. However, he expressed deep concern that the EFF’s protest might display a disregard for law and order, citing previous statements by party leader Julius Malema.