Taxi Association Condemns Whoonga!
The minibus taxi industry is one of South Africa’s most profitable black (I use the term loosely) owned and tax free organisations.
Judging by the amount of traffic fines occupants of this industry acquire annually,I should probably say “tax free ”. Whether they pay the traffic fines or not is not the point, in fact, that’s another story for another day.
Just to touch on the recent taxi strike by thousands of outraged taxi drivers and owners in the Cape, the Western Cape Member of Executive Council, Robin Carlisle, could not curb the intense protesting from South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) and only till 2 days ago, the strike came to an end when the Transport Minister S’bu Ndebele intervened, showing just how loud the noise caused by SANTACO was.
In Durban though, there has been a breakthrough in curbing criminal activities in the taxi industry. Particularly for taxi’s from the Sydenham Taxi Association.
The Sydenham Taxi Association is one of very few minibus associations that work closely with their local Community Policing Forum (CPF). Through their partnership with the CPF, the association has been informed through countless investigationsand complaints about the treatment of the taxi conductors toward commuters and their alleged use of the toxic buzz drug whoonga.
Wikipedia describes whoonga as – “a drug that has allegedly come into widespread use in South Africa in 2010, notably in the impoverished townships of Durban. It is claimed to be appearing in other places in South Africa as well.”
The Sydenham Taxi Association has come up with a solution that they say will benefit the community, they have decided to do away with the taxi conductors to curb the presence of these whoongafied conductors on passengers.
However there are many concerns that may surface following this decision, what about the innocent kids that were dependent on that daily R100 – R150 to support their families? What will the whoonga boys do to get their next fix now that they are jobless? Will Sydenham taxi drivers become more hazardous in the manner they conduct themselves on the roads? Will the CPF expand to contain the eminent chance of theft and confrontation in Sydenham?
There are many situations that could surface in the coming months, personally I have no opinion on this ruling, I don’t really stay in Sydenham anyway, but for me, the main concern has to be the increased volume of young adults that will be milling around the hood all day not knowing what to do.
Ok the whoonga boy will find a way to make up the money needed, whether by selling appliances, clothes phones, asking for R2 from every person who passes his corner or by quite simply doing it the high risk way, jacking pedestrians!
The taxi driver who now has to jostle and multi task is the biggest danger to society, particularly as we move into the winter months. He’s not used to not having an assistant, and he’s a man, we all know we aren’t too good at this multi tasking business. For me the safety of the passengers in those situations might be a cause for introspection.
although you can’t exactly categorise either of the taxi driver or taxi conductor as employed, they do however account as a statistic for the informal employment sector which accounts for millions of Rands annually in South Africa. To add to the skilled unemployed or unemployable youth, what chance does an unskilled young adult have out there in the “real world?”
If there are any positives to be drawn from this ordeal, it has to be the assertiveness of the Sydenham Taxi Association, how many more of the local associations will follow suit remains to be seen, because in the African townships, the general solution to deal with criminal-intent inclined taxi conductors is their death via community rage, of course this never solves the problem, more and more break out to do the same thing over and over again!