The battle between the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) and the Western Cape government over impounded taxis turned deadly expeditiously after a crackdown on taxi drivers in the city as the violent strike entered its eighth day on Thursday.
Both parties remained deadlocked with the DA Government saying it refuses to negotiate with “criminality”.
While we are aware of the immediate impact of the strike which resulted in the loss of five lives, including the highly reported death of a British Dr, as well as malicious damage to property, there are more detrimental effects which will be strongly felt by affected communities in the near future.
A protracted taxi strike can have several economic ramifications on the Western Cape region, recently voted the greatest city on earth by Telegraph Travel Awards. Below are five ways that the poor will suffer while the two elephants (Santaco and the Western Cape government) continue to battle it out.
- Disruption of transportation services: Taxis are a major mode of public transportation in South Africa, especially in the Western Cape. A protracted strike could result in a lack of available transportation options, leading to significant inconvenience for commuters, students and businesses. This disruption can affect productivity, attendance at work or school, and overall economic activity.
- Increased costs for alternative transportation: In the absence of taxi services, individuals may need to rely on alternative modes of transportation such as buses, private cars, or ride-hailing services. This increased demand and reliance on alternative options can drive up costs for commuters, leading to higher transportation expenses and potential financial strain for individuals and businesses.
- Loss of income and revenue: Taxis are an important source of income for drivers and taxi owners. A prolonged strike would mean that they are unable to earn income, which can have a considerable impact on their livelihoods. Additionally, restaurants, shops, and other businesses that rely on commuters and tourists may experience decreased revenue as fewer people are able to access their services.
- Negative impact on tourism: The Western Cape is a popular tourist destination, and any disruptions to transportation services can deter tourists from visiting. A prolonged taxi strike could result in the cancellation or rescheduling of travel plans, leading to lost revenue for hotels, restaurants, tour operators, and other tourism-related businesses. This could also have a long-term effect on the region’s reputation as a tourist destination.
- Supply chain disruptions: Taxis play a crucial role in the movement of goods and services. A prolonged strike can disrupt supply chains, affecting the timely delivery of goods to businesses and customers. This could result in higher costs for businesses and potential shortages of essential items, further impacting the local economy.
While the city refuses to release any of the impouded taxi until drivers pay stipulated fees, saying the National Land Transport Act (NLTA) has empowered it to impound them, as to how long the strike will go on will determine how severe the effects are. All we know is that it’s the grass that suffers as the two elephants continue to fight.