Dispute between VUKTA and Megabus to be heard in court?

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Tuesday, 28 January, saw 100s of passengers stranded; Sasol employees, mine workers and school children. This was all because of a contractual dispute between a local taxi association, Vukanini and Megabus. Negotiations failed several times as Megabus allegedly did not honour invitations to the all meetings requested. This was all a rumour.
Taxi owners from Vukanini Taxi Association blocked all the entrances to eMbalenhle in order to send a message to the management of Megabus. This was to ensure that negotiations will take place. Social media was buzzing from Wednesday as community members blamed the chairman of Vukta, Mr F Sibanyoni (Maleleza), for being greedy and inconsiderate of other people’s lives.
Taxi co-owners took it upon themselves to block Megabus from entering eMbalenhle. There were no buses seen in or around eMbalenhle and taxi association owners continued with their routine patrol around eMbalenhle to ensure that no bus would be able to enter eMbalenhle. 
Speaking on national radio, Mr Sibanyoni said: “People must stop finger-pointing the association and get the story from both sides because the allegations they are making are very serious and can cause disruptions and unrest amongst the community.”
He further elaborated that in 2014 there was a signed agreement between Vukta and Megabus that stated that from that date, if new job opportunities would appear, Megabus would not be involved or would not take part because they already employ so many people locally. According to Mr Sibanyoni Megabus did not honour the agreement. After that, Megabus continued to add more buses to operate thus, breaching the agreement. It is alleged that by then they had no more than 100 buses operating but today they operate with 169 buses between eMbalenhle, Leandra, Kinross and Evander. The controversy arose between the two parties late last year when it was reported that a local taxi association started to stop all the buses operating between Secunda and Leandra. It was also discovered that people were paying the bus drivers tips. Many of those people are from in Kinross. Vukta started with a preliminary investigation which led to the discovery of two mystery buses running in Kinross. A meeting was held by the involved parties and an agreement was reached to stop those buses. That didn’t happen. In a period of 5 years, Megabus has added 69 buses which negatively affected the taxi business.
When asked what is happening, Mr Sibanyoni said: “It all depends on Megabus management coming to the meetings and having engagements with us. We are businesspeople and we work professionally but this time around we have been pushed to the limit and we want to protect our black owned business. We want them to remove two buses operating in Kinross and buses in Bethal, Leandra as well as Embalenhle and honour our written and signed agreements.”
“We want to make it clear to everyone that we are not fighting with the community as our taxis are in full operation. If we were in disputes with the community, we wouldn’t have taxis running around making sure people get to their different destinations,” concluded Mr Sibanyoni. Megabus was contacted for comments but their operations manager for Mpumalanga didn’t comment. It was only said that the case is in court and they are not allowed to comment on such cases. 
The Bulletin discovered that Megabus filed an urgent court interdict to stop Vukta from blocking them from eMbalenhle. The matter was allegedly referred to the Middleburg High Court. – Sandile Mkhwanazi

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