Having launched the taxi lekgotla public disclosure platform in August, Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula announced that government were in discussions to establish a subsidy to the taxi industry, which is set to be implemented by 1 April 2021.
The industry along with the Competition Commission has been calling on the government to subsidise taxis the same way it did with buses and trains.
The taxi industry transports about 66.5% of commuters, while buses and trains were responsible for 23.6% and 9.9% respectively in the country.
During a media briefing on Friday, Mbalula said these facts outlined the importance of the taxi industry.
“This is an industry that has tremendous potential to become a model for real empowerment because it generates revenue in excess of R40 billion per annum and consumes more than 2.1 billion litres of fuel per annum,” he said.
Releasing the discussion documents of a national taxi lekgotla, Mbalula said the project would lay a foundation for engagement by stakeholders and public on the future of the taxi industry.
The taxi lekgotla planned to take place at the end of October 2020.
The Minister said the discussion documents were packaged along four major themes, which include:
- Unity and Leadership
- Taxi Industry Empowerment Model
- Taxi Industry Regulation
- Taxi Industry Professionalisation and Customer Care
“In tackling the discussions about unity and leadership of the industry, amongst others, we must have an honest and robust conversation about the key drivers of disunity and violence.
“We must ask hard questions about the billions that the government continues to invest in the industry in the form of the taxi recapitalisation programme.
“We must have an honest conversation about who the real beneficiaries are of these investments, so that we can make decisive interventions that enable the industry to become the primary beneficiaries,” he said.
Mbalula admitted that the taxi industry was “not structured along legally recognised business units”, and that corporate tax obligations, as well as labour laws, are not being implemented.
“Recently, I have seen the emergence of a trade union. The regulatory framework remains weak due to fragmented approach,” he said.
The minister said out of the estimated 200,000 taxis in the country, approximately 63,000 of taxi operate without operating licences.
“The discussion will seek to address the challenge posed by the prevalence of illegal operators,” he added.
He further said that parliament has already passed the National Land Transport Bill that puts in place the regulatory framework for regulating e-hailing services.
“The Bill is now before the president for assent,” he added.
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