The South African police have given Qacha’s Nek taxi-operators until the end of September to sort out their cross-border permits.
The ultimatum comes after cross-border taxi-operations were temporarily halted on Tuesday following the operators’ failure to produce permits which allow them to ferry passengers into South Africa and back to Lesotho.
Qacha’s Nek and Matatiele taxi operators signed a cross-border agreement on 25 May 2016 which became operational on 1 June.
But in an interview yesterday with the Lesotho Times, Qacha’s Nek Taxi Association member Lerotholi Posholi said the pact was now in serious jeopardy.
“After signing the cross-border agreement on May 25, 2016, we negotiated with the police to allow us to ferry passengers to and from South Africa while we were sorting out the permits’ issue,” Mr Posholi said.
“Although the police granted us a grace period, there was never a set timeframe and yesterday (Tuesday) their patience on the matter ran out, and they stopped our operations, demanding that both SA and Lesotho operators produce cross-border permits.”
The police, he added, argued transporting passengers between the two countries without permits was putting lives at risk as victims would not be covered by the road accident fund should the vehicles crash.
However, Mr Posholi said the situation was brought under control following negotiations which resulted in the police giving the operators three months to sort themselves out or risk arrest.
“Things are back to normal now as we have been given until the end of September to sort out the permits issue. We are working really hard to make sure we meet that deadline,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Posholi said Qacha’s Nek District Administrator (DA), Mosiuoa Nthakong, had promised to would work hard to speedily facilitate the issuance of the permits to avoid any future problems.
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The DA, he added, had said it was important for the permits to be processed as the issue could affect relations between Lesotho and South Africa.