Taxi operators urged to resolve dispute

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Taxi operators urged to resolve dispute
Vehicle mistaken for Uber vehicle petrol bombed - Image - CICA

Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa has added her voice to Police Minister Fikile Mbalula’s appeal for taxi operators to engage with each other and end their conflict.

“The entire tourism sector, including leaders of government and industry, fully supports the call for calm and stability to be restored among taxi operators.

“Tourism, and communities throughout our country, depends on safe and reliable transport, and nobody benefits from disruptions in taxi services,” said Xasa on Thursday.

Minister Mbalula has appealed to metered taxi owners and Uber owners to sit down and work together to prevent sabotaging the economy, following protest action and violent conflict between the competing operators.

Mbalula said taxi operators, who staged protests to demand economic freedom, must do so within the law.

He said the police will protect the rights of South Africans and maintain law and order at all times.

Xasa said no form of conflict could ever replace the power of engagement to resolve differences.

“This is yet another opportunity for South Africans to demonstrate to the world that we have the enduring capacity to engage each other, address our differences, and resolve them in a way that everyone benefits. This is how we got to where our society is today, and this is how we will go into the future.

“We must sit around the table and talk. If we do not, there could be loss of lives, damage to property and serious consequences for our economy,” the Minister said.

Xasa said government departments are working together to address some of the recent events directly.

She said it is just as important for government and industry to work together to stabilise the situation, and to reimagine a future in which everyone benefits.

“We appeal to all the parties involved in the current conflict to call a truce, come together, and find a way of working together so that everyone benefits,” the Minister said.

Xasa said the taxi operators must remember what is at stake.

“Tourism contributes about 9% to our GDP in total and we cannot jeopardise this. But the impact of travel disruptions on our overall economy, and on our global reputation, is far greater. We are not a nation that cannot resolve the issues that emerge in our lives, and we do not want to be perceived like that by the world.

“We are working hard to maintain the recent growth in our overseas tourist arrivals, and to develop a strong domestic tourism segment. These efforts will be undermined if we do not resolve the issues that have emerged in the taxi industry,” said the Minister.

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