Cape Chamber helped mediate agreement to end taxi strike

The City of Cape Town and Santaco urgently need to build on the positive momentum created by this week's suspension of the Western Cape taxi strike.

In setting their differences aside both sides are to be commended for prioritising the needs of the broader public and the economy. However, we would be fooling ourselves to think that this is anything other than a shaky truce; the real work remains to be done.

This week’s agreement, which sees the parties return to the negotiating table, also illustrates the importance of involving civil society in dispute resolution.

The Cape Chamber helped mediate an agreement acceptable to both sides following a period of misunderstanding. As the voice of business, we have close ties to both the taxi industry – a vital component of the public transport system – and regional government authorities with whom we work closely on a range of projects. As such we were able to find common ground and expedite the final settlement.

Our CEO John Lawson was able to engage directly with government and taxi leaders, and help resolve points of disagreement. The process had bogged down in unnecessary delays, prolonging violent disruption and delaying public service. In our view this was the result of an unfortunate communication breakdown that underscores the need for private sector input in achieving a lasting settlement.

The Chamber social media staff were afforded the opportunity to record SANTACO’s official announcement of ending the strike.

In our view the final outcome is testimony to concessions on both sides. Government authorities need to embrace and help develop the taxi industry as a vital partner in promoting economic growth. Santaco should embrace the City’s role in providing a platform to regulate taxi drivers within the context of a transport system in urgent need of reform.  

After a bruising standoff affecting all, all leaders need to be mature enough to consistently make decisions in the best interest of society and the economy. Both parties need to reflect and learn from what happened, and through dialogue, find lasting solutions. 

Jacques Moolman
President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce & Industry