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Traffic boss blamed for violence

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Caswell Tlali

Leribe — Taxi associations in Leribe say traffic commissioner ’Mathato Makoatle is to blame for the violence that erupted among taxi operators in Maputsoe last Friday. In an interview with the Sunday Express, the operators accused Makoatle of issuing out C-Permits in breach of the standing rules.The decision to issue the permits to new mini-bus operators to ply the route triggered violence in Maputsoe last Friday as operators fought over routes and customers. The operators said Makoatle violated an agreement signed between them and the department of transport in 2009.Under the terms of the deal, the operators said, Makoatle was not supposed to issue permits to passenger vehicles to ply the route without first consulting the associations. Bokong and Maliba-Matšo taxi associations signed the deal with the then Leribe district police commander Janki Hlaahla, district administrator Molise Mofolo, erstwhile traffic commissioner Tohlang Sello and then transport principal secretary Lebohang Phooko. Manale Mashaile, the Bokong Taxi Association chairman, said the transport ministry had promised to ensure the agreement was respected. “We were shocked when (last) week when we realised that the commissioner had breached this agreement and that drivers had started to fight again,” Mashaile said.“Our drivers took up arms against the new taxis saying they were pirates only to discover that they had valid C-Permits.” The Maliba-Matšo Taxi Association chairperson, Tšehlo Khoanyane, said Makoatle’s breach of agreement will have devastating consequences for the taxi operators as they will be labeled criminals following the disturbances.“Some of us have criminal cases pending in the Leribe magistrate’s court for the previous fights we had among ourselves over passengers,” Khoanyane said.

“Will we never be out of trouble when the government, through its senior official, the traffic commissioner, acts so irresponsibly?” he said.Fights among taxi operators on the Maputsoe-Methalaneng route are not new.The associations that ply the route have often complained of dwindling business on the route as they often fight over passengers.They said in a week a taxi can only make one or two trips and at
Caswell Tlali

Leribe — Taxi associations in Leribe say traffic commissioner ’Mathato Makoatle is to blame for the violence that erupted among taxi operators in Maputsoe last Friday. In an interview with the Sunday Express, the operators accused Makoatle of issuing out C-Permits in breach of the standing rules.The decision to issue the permits to new mini-bus operators to ply the route triggered violence in Maputsoe last Friday as operators fought over routes and customers. The operators said Makoatle violated an agreement signed between them and the department of transport in 2009.Under the terms of the deal, the operators said, Makoatle was not supposed to issue permits to passenger vehicles to ply the route without first consulting the associations. Bokong and Maliba-Matšo taxi associations signed the deal with the then Leribe district police commander Janki Hlaahla, district administrator Molise Mofolo, erstwhile traffic commissioner Tohlang Sello and then transport principal secretary Lebohang Phooko. Manale Mashaile, the Bokong Taxi Association chairman, said the transport ministry had promised to ensure the agreement was respected. “We were shocked when (last) week when we realised that the commissioner had breached this agreement and that drivers had started to fight again,” Mashaile said.“Our drivers took up arms against the new taxis saying they were pirates only to discover that they had valid C-Permits.” The Maliba-Matšo Taxi Association chairperson, Tšehlo Khoanyane, said Makoatle’s breach of agreement will have devastating consequences for the taxi operators as they will be labeled criminals following the disturbances.“Some of us have criminal cases pending in the Leribe magistrate’s court for the previous fights we had among ourselves over passengers,” Khoanyane said.

“Will we never be out of trouble when the government, through its senior official, the traffic commissioner, acts so irresponsibly?” he said.Fights among taxi operators on the Maputsoe-Methalaneng route are not new.The associations that ply the route have often complained of dwindling business on the route as they often fight over passengers.They said in a week a taxi can only make one or two trips and at month ends operators are not able to pay their employees, let alone keep their vehicles roadworthy.They produced a document showing that on November 19 only nine taxis out of 41 managed to operate while on 21st and 23rd only seven and six mini buses were able to do business.“Surely, we cannot expect to have business at all if the traffic commissioner will be allowed to behave in this way. Forty-one taxis are too much for this route and we cannot accept the additional ones,” Tefo Mothepu, the Bokong Taxi Association secretary general, said.Efforts to contact Makoatle on Friday failed as she was said to be out of office.Phooko said he could not remember the terms of the agreement but promised to check next week.
month ends operators are not able to pay their employees, let alone keep their vehicles roadworthy.They produced a document showing that on November 19 only nine taxis out of 41 managed to operate while on 21st and 23rd only seven and six mini buses were able to do business.“Surely, we cannot expect to have business at all if the traffic commissioner will be allowed to behave in this way. Forty-one taxis are too much for this route and we cannot accept the additional ones,” Tefo Mothepu, the Bokong Taxi Association secretary general, said.Efforts to contact Makoatle on Friday failed as she was said to be out of office.Phooko said he could not remember the terms of the agreement but promised to check next week.

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