Sebenza SAPS meets with taxi patrollers and drivers

Sebenza SAPS met with taxi patrollers and taxi drivers to discuss concerns of the public.

On July 20, Sebenza SAPS held a meeting with taxi patrollers and taxi drivers from the various taxi associations which operate in the Sebenza area.

Also read: Sebenza SAPS launches taxi association forum

The meeting was also attended by the Sebenza Community Police Forum chairperson, Andrew Mosesi.

The meeting comes after the SAPS and the Sebenza SAPS Taxi Forum met on July 13.

Also read: Sebenza SAPS contact numbers: keep these numbers close-by

The meeting highlighted the positive results that have been achieved since the forum was launched in May last year.

The forum is made up of representatives from the Kempton Park Taxi Association (KETA), the Ivory Park Taxi Association (IPTA), the Lethabong Taxi Association and the Faraday Taxi Association, the Johannesburg – Tembisa Taxi Association (JTTA), the Tata Taxi Association (TATA), the Germiston Taxi Association, the Alexandra Taxi Association (ATA) as well as the Greater Alberton Taxi Association.

At that meeting, it was agreed a meeting with the taxi patrollers from various taxi associations would be the next step forward.

Sebenza SAPS communications officer, Sergeant Sharon Tsotsotso said the purpose of this meeting with the taxi patrollers was to address the complaints the station receives from the public and commuters regarding taxi patrollers and drivers.

“We also wanted to address the challenges commuters have, in order to get resolutions and a way forward,” said Tsotsotso.

One of the issues that were discussed was the way taxi patrollers handle construction vehicles that pick up their contract workers at the taxi rank.

“Another issue was the commuters who end up boarding the wrong taxis because of miscommunication between the marshals and commuters. Taxi patrollers must also stop harassing private vehicle drivers when they come to pick up their spouses at the taxi rank,” said Tsotsotso.

She also said the police face the challenge of taxi drivers carrying illegal firearms and made an example of the taxi drivers in Soweto and Midrand who were arrested with illegal riffles.

She warned that should something like that ever happen in the area, all those implicated would face the full might of the law.

“The reason I’m raising this issue is because it has not happened in this area yet. I am raising it because I want you to remember that I did call you to inform you about it,” she said.

The taxi drivers and patrollers unanimously agreed that the issue of construction workers, who are picked up at the taxi rank, was a serious concern.

Another concern was bakkies operating as taxis in some taxi ranks.

They felt the police are not very helpful when it comes to dealing with such issues.

One of the patrollers said some of these bakkies waiting at the taxi rank, take commuters whenever they see there is a chance to do so.

“Only taxis are allowed to transport commuters. It is illegal to transport passengers in a bakkie, but we are disrespected by these taxi drivers,” one of the patrollers said.

The issue of private vehicles operating as lift clubs, was also raised. Andrew Mosesi, chairperson of the Sebenza SAPS, said that by law, any person wanting to operate a lift club is required to apply for a permit.

“When you decide to offer a lift club, you must apply for a permit. The application process will involve the taxi associations that operate in that area and they must approve it. Doing it without a permit means you are breaking the law,” said Mosesi.

The taxi drivers also raised concerns about the way some traffic officers conduct their job. Mosesi advised that they will try, by all means, to ensure that the Johannesburg Metro Police and the Ekurhuleni Metro Police are present at the next meeting because some of the concerns raised, affect them.

“Some of the issues are by-laws and SAPS does not deal with by-law issues,” said Mosesi.

He also proposed that a task team be set up in order to deal with these matters as they arise. The task team will be made up of the representatives from each association and SAPS.

Mosesi also raised the issue of educating commuters and the public about how the taxi industry operates.

“I think some of the problems are created as a result of not knowing how things are done. It’s important for the taxi industry to communicate and create awareness about how they work and some of the issues that were raised here today. The industry must use the media to educate the public,” said Mosesi.

Tsotsotso has a slot on the Voice of Tembisa on Mondays and Thursday afternoons when she talks about crime.

It was proposed that the platform be utilised by the taxi associations to educate commuters and the public about the taxi industry. The matter still needs to be discussed further with the station and the taxi associations in order to decide on dates and times.

  AUTHOR
Buli Sonqishe

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