Byline: Levhuwani Matumba

24 February 2022

MEC Mohita Latchminarain called upon the taxi industry to respect the law.

This came after allegations that some taxis were blocking transport that ferry students from their residential areas to the campus.

“The ongoing interference of the taxi associations to the affairs of the University of Mpumalanga (UMP) in Mbombela regarding student transportation is not going to be tolerated by Department.

The safety of the students between their official student accommodation and the campus in Mbombela is the responsibility of the University of Mpumalanga and as such, the University has a right to source transport of their students to the various student accommodation as per their guidelines.

There is no association that owns public road and that’s why they are also issued a permit to operate on certain routes in the province as outlined in the National Land Transport Transition Act (NLTTA).

If taxi associations are going to continue to destabilize and threaten service providers of the UMP, the Department will have no choice but to revoke their operating licenses” said MEC Latchminarain.

The MEC called upon law enforcement authorities to act with a high degree of urgency to restore law and order and to leave no stone unturned as they make necessary arrests to those who are infringing the rights of others.

“I want to assure the students that we are going to make sure that peace and stability is maintained.

The students have a right to education, and nobody must stand on their way while attending classes.” Concluded Ms Latchminarain.

Ms Latchminarain further requested the service providers and students to remain calm and allow the law to take its course.

Seskhona Media spoke to one of the students at the University of Mpumalanga who confirmed that the problem started last year.

“Students who qualify to get accommodation from accredited residences are the ones suffering the most.

The residence owner is the one that arranges transport and the taxi operators demand to be used,” the student said.

According to the students, parents who also transport their children were also threatened and most of them have since opted to drop them far from the campus.

Santaco provincial chairman, Mr Fanyana Sibanyoni was also contacted by Seskhona Media and this is how he responded,

“The MEC is misinformed and it is wrong for her to go to the media and publish statements without engaging the relevant people.

She cannot threaten us when we raise concerns.”

Mr Sibanyoni called on the MEC to engage the Santaco provincial structure if she reached a deadlock with the Ehlanzeni Region.

He further mentioned that the residential business is responsible for accommodation, not transport.