Category Archives: WhaleTales Blog

Sweet Service Award goes to Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis; Sour Service Award goes to SANTACO

The Sweet Service Award goes to Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis for his consistent, regular, and honest feedback at all hours of the day and night to the residents of Cape Town during the eight day Taxi Strike. At all times the stand of the City of Cape Town has been that lawlessness will not be tolerated and that the City will do its best to protect operating public transport and even trucks delivering food.

The Sour Service Award goes to SANTACO for extending the strike by another week when it rejected the terms of the City’s demands last Friday yet accepted them in the final negotiations last night, causing financial hardship to its own taxi operators and taxi commuters, the loss of lives, and affected almost every resident in Cape Town, in that food stocks were running low or out of basic items in supermarkets.

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog. Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at chrisvonulmenstein [at] Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog.m

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: Tel +27 082 55 11 323


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Western Cape Taxi Strike officially over!

An eight day strike of the SANTACO minibus taxi industry in Cape Town and the Western Cape came to an end officially at 20h30 this evening, with the following statement issued by the Taxi Association.



Date: 10 August 2023

Time: 19h30

From the desk of Mandla Hermanus,

Chairperson of SANTACO Western Cape

Stay Away Officially Called Off with Immediate Effect

It is with profound relief that we announce the immediate cessation of the Stay Away. This comes after painstaking deliberations and immense pressure on all parties involved.

First and foremost, on behalf of SANTACO Western Cape, I convey our sincerest condolences to the families of those who tragically lost their lives during the Stay Away. We stand with you in this time of grief and offer our profound sympathies. We also extend our heartfelt sympathy to everyone who was negatively affected by the events of the past days.

It deeply saddens and disappoints us that it took this long for all parties to find a resolution. The wellbeing of our community and the public at large has always been our top priority, and it pains us to witness the unnecessary pain and suffering that transpired.

I am pleased to announce that as part of the resolution reached between the Taxi Industry and the Government, there is an agreement that the next 14 days will be utilised to work towards the release of the vehicles that were wrongly impounded. This is a significant step towards restoring trust and operations to their regular state.

In conclusion, a heartfelt thank you goes out to each and every one of you for your patience, resilience, and unwavering resolve during these challenging times. We pledge our ongoing commitment to serve our communities with integrity, ensuring such incidents do not repeat in the future.

For further media enquiries, please contact:

Issued by the South African National Taxi Council, Western Cape.

Strike is over. All return to normal tomorrow’ —————————————————

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis confirmed via video that the Strike is officially over.

The City of Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis subsequently posted the following media statement :

▫️From the desk of▫️
Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis

City welcomes Santaco’s withdrawal of strike action

The City of Cape Town is pleased that the destructive taxi strike has come to an end. We appreciate the constructive approach taken by minibus taxi association Santaco today.

“It bears noting that Santaco today accepted the same proposal that the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government originally put on the table last Friday,” said Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.

“The tragic implication is that all of the violence, the deplorable loss of life, and the damage to property and to our local economy – was for naught. Last Friday, everything agreed to today was on the table, when the strike was less than 24 hours old, and could have been stopped then.”

The details of the agreement are:

  • Impoundments under the National Land Transportation Act (NLTA) will continue for vehicles driving without an operating license, or on the incorrect route, or without a driver’s license, or which are not roadworthy.
  • We have agreed that the Taxi Task Team will further define a list, within 14 days, of additional major offences in terms of which vehicles will continue to be impounded in future. This will take the form of an Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to guide enforcement staff on the exercise of the discretionary power provided for in the NLTA.
  • Our focus in the task team will be to ensure that all traffic offences which impact on commuter safety remain as major offences. Road safety for commuters and other road users is a non-negotiable, a position the City has not budged on.
  • The Task Team will similarly compile an agreed-upon list of minor offences, which do not have commuter safety implications, and which will not be impoundable. The City continues to believe it will be able to demonstrate to Santaco that we have already been following this distinction for some time.

Importantly, if Santaco believes that any of their taxis have been impounded for these minor offences, then they can produce the relevant impoundment notices and the City will then make representations to the Public Prosecutor to support the release of these vehicles.

We have also made two important improvements for the future.

  • Santaco has agreed that never again will they call a strike during the middle of a working day, and that they will always give at least 36 hours’ notice ahead of planned strike action. We should never again see a repeat of thousands of people being forced to walk home.
  • Secondly, before calling strike action, the Task Team will now have a dispute escalation and resolution clause, to escalate disputes directly to the Premier and Mayor before a strike action will be considered

The entire agreement is subject to there being no future resumption of taxi-related violence. Any resumption of taxi violence will nullify the agreement.

We hope this sends a clear message to South Africa: violence will get us nowhere. Laws can only be changed through democratic processes.

“While I deplore the impact of this entirely unnecessary strike, Cape Town has set an important precedent for South Africa’s future. By steadfastly refusing to capitulate before violence and anarchy, Cape Town has not conceded an inch on our commitment to the rule of law,” says Hill-Lewis.

“The message is clear: in Cape Town, the laws of this country apply equally to everyone and violence will not extract concessions from this government.”

“My thoughts are with our communities who bore the brunt of this and I want to assure them that we will continue to fight for the safety of them and their loved ones as they travel around our city.”

Thank YOU’

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: Tel +27 082 55 11 323


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Sweet Service Award goes to Babylonstoren; Sour Service Award goes to SANTACO Taxi Association

The Sweet Service Award goes to Babylonstoren, for its very efficient delivery service. Driving all the way from Franschhoek, the delivery is free, an estimated delivery time is communicated on the morning of the delivery date, the driver usually arrives ahead of this time (under promise, over deliver), and the drivers are friendly and professional.

The Sour Service Award goes to SANTACO Taxi Association, for its calling of a six day strike of its Taxi members in Cape Town and the rest of the Western Cape province. The Association is using the strike as a means of protesting against what it refers to the unfair impoundment of its members’ taxis by the City of Cape Town. The City and its Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis is taking a hard line against the taxis breaking road and driving City by-laws. Not only is every taxi driver not earning an income in the week ahead, but so too is every employed member of staff who cannot get to their jobs via taxi in this period.

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog. Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at chrisvonulmenstein [at] Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog.

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: Tel +27 082 55 11 323


Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein, My Cape Town Guide/Mein Kapstadt Guide, WhaleTales Blog, Camps Bay Clean

Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein @MyCapeTownGuide @whaletalesblog @campsbayclean

City of Cape Town urges Minibus-Taxi industry to refrain from violence and disruptions

Taxi violence in the city centre this afternoon led to the City of Cape Town issuing the following media statement:


1 AUGUST 2023


City urging minibus-taxi industry to refrain from violence, disruptions

The City of Cape Town notes the intention from SANTACO in the Western Cape about the implementation of possible stay-away action later this week or early next week. Unfortunately, minibus-taxi operators this afternoon already blocked roads around the Station Deck minibus-taxi facility, preventing MyCiTi buses and other vehicles from exiting the central business district via Nelson Mandela Boulevard and the N2 highway. Law Enforcement is currently on the scene. The City wants to issue a stern warning ahead of this potential strike by the minibus-taxi industry in Cape Town to refrain from violence, attacks on other public transport operators, intimidation, and traffic disruptions. Read more below:

‘We know from hard learnt experience that strike action is often marked by intimidation of non-striking public transport operators, threats, violence and destruction of public and private property. We respect the right to peaceful protest and strike action, however, I want to make it very clear that the City will not tolerate any thuggish behaviour. We will hold SANTACO accountable for any losses and damages. The general public has equal right to get to work to earn a living and provide for their families. I am calling on all working within the minibus-taxi industry to please remain calm, and for SANTACO to resume efforts of constructive engagement soonest,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Mobility, Councillor Rob Quintas.

SANTACO withdrew from engagements with the City and the Western Cape Government (WCG) last week.

‘The City and the WCG sent a joint letter to SANTACO with proposals to address some of their concerns, among which the impoundment of vehicles that are operating illegally without operating licences, or contrary to their licence conditions. I urge SANTACO to return to the negotiations so that we can resolve these issues in a peaceful manner, in the interest of all operators, the industry in general, those employed by the industry, and most importantly, the thousands of commuters who rely on minibus-taxis to get to and from work,’ said Councillor Quintas.

If need be, the City will apply for an interdict to protect human lives and public and private property.

The illegal blockade in the CBD during the peak hour period this afternoon is an indication that should the strike go ahead, it may have an impact on the MyCiTi N2 Express routes between the Civic Centre MyCiTi station and Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha in particular, and to a lesser degree on other routes operating across Cape Town.

The City will make operational decisions in the interest of the safety and security of commuters and employees. We will closely monitor routes and Law Enforcement will conduct regular patrols.

As a precautionary measure, MyCiTi commuters and those relying on the minibus-taxi industry for commuting are advised to anticipate delays in coming days, and to plan accordingly.

We will keep the public informed as best we can in coming days.


Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town

Media enquiries: Councillor Rob Quintas, the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Mobility, Tel: 021 400 7197 or Cell: 082 042 3502, Email: (please always copy’