The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) has launched an independent relief fund for the taxi industry to support those affected by the loss of business during the 21-day national lockdown.
The fund will compensate taxi operators, drivers, queue marshals and staff working at the offices of the taxi associations. National Santaco president Phillip Taaibosch addressed a press conference in Johannesburg on Tuesday, where he said the fund was not for the enrichment of anyone. However, anyone could contribute to the fund, which has a target of R3.5billion.
“In our quest to maintain social distancing and save lives, we recognise that our members are losing income and their livelihood is severely compromised. We have taken this proactive step to establish a fund that will cushion the blow to our members.”
“At the same time we continue to fight the virus from entering our townships and villages where our most vulnerable people are residing.”
He called on stakeholders in the taxi industry such as food retailers, taxi dealerships, tyres, and parts manufacturers, banks, and other industry players to come together with the taxi industry and contribute to the fund.
He said: “This is crucial in ensuring essential service workers are taken to work as well as commuters that keep the economy of the country going.”
During the launch members of the media were taken through the infrastructure that has been set up to receive and process the applications from those who would qualify for compensation. Taaibosch also said that the fund would be managed by SKX, De Klerk Mandelstam Incorporated and Ncube Incorporated, and said the companies would also provide professional administration services.
“The main objective of the fund is to fund-raise financial resources and pass that on to the thousands of beneficiaries whose only source of income is the work they do on a daily basis in the taxi industry.”
Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association secretary Mandla Hermanus said they had only heard about the fund from the news. “It would be a welcome relief for struggling operators and rank marshals.”
Santaco spokesperson Thabisho Molelekwa said the public would be notified once the applications for the fund are open.
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Source: Cape Argus