The MEC for Transport in KwaZulu-Natal, Mxolisi Kaunda, said taxi operations in Ladysmith would resume this week, after being shut down for the greater part of a month.
Kaunda decided to shut operations down last December, after a series of hits led to the killing of taxi operators, members of their families and civilians who had absolutely nothing to do with the feuds that existed in the region.
Central to the taxi related violence were the Klipriver and Sizwe Taxi associations.
Since operations were halted, peace and stability have returned to Ladysmith, prompting the MEC to restore services.
Commuters and businesses have been severely impacted by the ban and there had also been pressure for government to help the industry return to business as usual.
“We are also pleased with the support we received from the people of Ladysmith, who overwhelmingly supported government in the implementation of its decisions to suspend taxi operations,” said Kaunda this week.
“The people supported us because they knew that government took this decision in the interest of saving their lives. We commend the community of Ladysmith for their patience and calmness during this period despite the hardships of having inadequate transportation,” added Kaunda.
“Our assessment shows that relative stability has been restored in the area bar yesterday’s unfortunate and anti-peace and development incident, where protesters blockaded roads and burnt five buses. In addition, we also received submissions from the Chamber of Business in Ladysmith and other organisations who raised their views on the impact of the decision.
“I have therefore decided to relax sanctions in the local routes in the interests of the people who still remain with inadequate transport. This means that only local routes will be partially opened on condition that there is no resurfacing of violence in the area. If incidents of violence occur, I will be forced to once again close all taxi operations. However, all long distance routes operated by Klipriver and Sizwe Transport Taxi Associations will remain closed. This decision is taken to benefit learners, some of whom will next week be resuming their academic year.”