South Africa: Taxi Council Must Prove It Took Reasonable Steps to Stop Violence, Rules Court

SANTACO will have to show it complied with an interdict and is not in contempt of court

Judge Patrick Gamble on Tuesday ordered that the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) must prove it has complied with an earlier interdict handed down by the Cape High Court on Sunday.

This came as the SANTACO taxi strike continued for a sixth day. The strike has been marked by scenes of violence across Cape Town and has resulted in five confirmed deaths according to Minister of Police Bheki Cele.

Sunday’s interdict required SANTACO to take reasonable steps to ensure that Golden Arrow Bus Services’ employees and passengers are not attacked, harassed or intimidated and that no damage is caused to the company’s property by SANTACO taxi drivers; and that SANTACO taxi drivers do not interfere with the ability of others to use the road.

SANTACO was also ordered to circulate a statement informing its members of the interdict and calling them to proceed with the strike peacefully.

But on Monday, more of Golden Arrow’s buses were torched and drivers were attacked. The company returned to court on Monday evening to seek an order that SANTACO prove it took those reasonable steps.

During court proceedings on Monday evening, Judge Gamble said that a blockade on the N2 in the early hours of Monday morning was undoubtedly a breach of the interdict.

On Tuesday afternoon, Gamble ordered that SANTACO must provide proof to the court by 12pm on Thursday, 10 August, that it had taken reasonable steps to stop violence and lawlessness.

He also ordered that SANTACO must provide the court with the identities of any of its members or taxi operators who were arrested or who were involved in the blockade on the N2 on Monday morning.

Finally, Judge Gamble ordered that when the parties return to court on 23 August, SANTACO and its affiliates will have to argue why it should not be held in contempt of court for breaching Sunday’s interdict.

Judge Gamble had also granted an interdict to the City of Cape Town on Monday evening, which prohibits any person or vehicle from unreasonably blocking Cape Town’s roads with the intention of harming or delaying passengers using other modes of transport. Members of the taxi industry are also prohibited from coming within 100 metres of a transport depot.

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