STATEMENT BY DONALD GRANT: MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND PUBLIC WORKS
I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Mr Nazeem “Arab” Daniels this morning. Mr Daniels was the Chairperson of the Delft Taxi Association, and a representative of SANTACO in the Western Cape. He was widely respected by his colleagues in the minibus taxi industry. Mr Daniels becomes the latest casualty in the ongoing taxi-related violence in Delft, following the recent killing of two taxi drivers on the 11th of May 2018.
I strongly condemn his murder, and the violent nature that this ongoing conflict continues to exhibit. It is entirely unacceptable that any dispute should result in bloodshed and a loss of life.
I wish to extend my sincere condolences to Mr Daniels’ family and loved ones during this difficult and traumatic time. No family should have to suffer a loss in this manner.
I have also extended my condolences to his colleagues in the Delft Taxi Association, whom I met with earlier today, to discuss the way forward in addressing violence in the industry.
This morning, I had also called an urgent meeting attended by Department of Transport and Public Works officials, together with the City of Cape Town and SAPS. At that meeting it was agreed that:
* The Department of Transport and Public Works, through the Provincial Regulatory Entity (PRE) would immediately prepare a Section 91 (National Land Transport Act) notice, declaring my intention, as the Minister of Transport and Public Works in the province, to institute extraordinary measures which may include the closure of ranks and/or routes in Delft, should the current violent conflict continue. This decision is not taken lightly, and is taken primarily with safety of commuters in mind, who are at serious risk of being caught in the crossfire of the ongoing violence. The City of Cape Town will also immediately prepare a Transport Contingency Plan that will be implemented in the event of the closure of ranks and/or routes.
* The Department of Transport Public Works will, through the Provincial Registrar, also institute hearings into conduct of associations operating in Delft in terms of Section 7A (20) of Western Cape Road Transportation Act Amendment Law. These hearings may lead to the suspension or deregistration of certain associations and/or operators. The first if these hearings is scheduled to take place early next week.
* With immediate effect, law enforcement will continue to impound any illegally operating taxi in Delft area. Since last week, we have impounded over 30 minibus taxis. The Department of Transport and Public Works, together with the City of Cape Town, are also looking into alternate space that could serve as an additional secure impound facility.
* The Provincial Operational Response Unit of SAPS be deployed to Delft to stabilize the area, and to collect video evidence of activities.
* The SAPS Crime Intelligence branch be been deployed to gather information on what is seemingly a planned hit, targeting Mr Daniels, and to urgently locate the perpetrators. This follows one arrest already affected last week in connection with the killing of two taxi drivers. SAPS have also affected 9 other arrests relating to other killings in the Delft and Langa area.
* A dedicated team of seven detectives be assigned by SAPS to investigate this morning’s killing and other recent killings in the Delft area.
* Additional resources be deployed in the Delft area, over-and-above last week’s additional deployment, to increase visibility. This will include an armoured vehicle.
* The Department of Transport and Public Works will appoint an independent mediator to address the issues resulting in conflict in Delft. In the past, mediation has been a successful tool used by this department to address some of the issues in the minibus taxi industry here in the Western Cape.
I have also contacted the National President of SANTACO to ask what intervention is planned by the national body to address the conduct of local associations who are their members.
My department will continue to work closely with the SAPS and the minibus taxi industry in the province to facilitate peace and non-violence. The safety of our commuters remains a top priority in this regard.