No way for MyCiTi

Amien Carlsen, chairperson of the Wynberg Taxi Forum

Once again we, the taxi industry in Wynberg, find ourselves being undermined by the City of Cape Town’s DA-led government.

Being a DA member myself, it saddens me to think that the very same party I put my cross next to can do this to more than 1 000 families’ livelihoods by excluding them from talks and plans that will affect their way of life.

I am referring to the MyCiTi project that the City intends steamrolling into Wynberg without giving a second thought to consulting the taxi industry in Wynberg that has been providing transport to the Cape Flats for more than six decades.

I feel, and I know, that our constitutional rights are being disregarded here, namely the right to provide for our families in a lawful way and the right not to be oppressed.

This is exactly what the City is doing to the taxi industry in Wynberg by not engaging with us regarding the MyCiTi project. The City uses the “old regime’s” tactics by spying on our business by installing cameras on the ranks under false pretence, telling us it’s actually there for security reasons and revealing in an open meeting that its purpose is to monitor the number of loads our vehicles take – a City representative revealed that in an Imac (Interchange Management Advisory Committee) meeting at Wittebome civic centre Monday September 5.

Well, like the old saying goes, “what’s done is done”. We are not going to take this lying down. We will seek legal advice and representation and take the City to task. We promise we will exhaust every avenue to get satisfaction, and this we will do for the sake of the livelihood of about 1 000 legal taxi operators in Wynberg.

This very same project is being implemented in other provinces, but with the inclusion of all affected taxi associations.

We are not against the MyCiTi project, but we are against the way the City wants to implement it in Wynberg.

Has the City not realised that we are in a democracy for more than 20 years now?

Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport, responds:

The City’s plans for the next phase of the MyCiTi roll-out are well known. In particular, the fact that at this point in time there is no approved route that enters the Wynberg area. As you know, our council approved a route that excludes Wynberg. To engage with any Wynberg stakeholder about any route that accesses the Wynberg area would put us in breach of a court order at this stage.

Our track record with regard to the roll-out of the MyCiTi project and how we engage with the current transport service providers speaks for itself. Any person who currently operates within the taxi industry only needs to look at the extensive engagements we undertook before rolling out Phase 1 and the N2 Express service to know that we have not, and will not, operate a service without proper engagement.

Having said that, we note the concerns raised by the Wynberg Taxi Forum. It should also be noted that the implementation of Phase 2A of the MyCiTi service, which is to serve 34 communities from the metro-south east and beyond, is still a long way off. The service may only start operating within four to five years, depending on funding from the national government, among other factors.

As such, the City of Cape Town has not engaged with any of the taxi associations whose services may be affected by the roll-out of Phase 2A as yet.

I want to assure the Wynberg Taxi Forum that Transport for Cape Town (TCT), the City’s transport authority, will engage with the affected taxi associations long before the service is about to start operating. The minibus-taxi industry is an important partner and respected role-player in the public transport realm, and we are committed to ongoing engagements about any matter that may affect the industry.

TCT has a dedicated and professional task team which steered the negotiations and discussions when the City rolled out the first phase of the MyCiTi service. This team will once again be involved in the negotiations in anticipation of the next roll-out closer to the time.