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National shutdown: ‘Our members are suffering but we don’t support this’ - national taxi council

Local taxis operators are not making ends meet, and the petrol price is forcing many to lose their businesses. File Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Local taxis operators are not making ends meet, and the petrol price is forcing many to lose their businesses. File Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jun 9, 2022

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Johannesburg - The minibus taxi industry is often described as the heartbeat of the South African economy. With the collapse of the rail system in most parts of the country the industry has become one of the most dominant modes of public transport.

With news of a possible national shutdown circulating on social media following the recent increase in fuel prices it has become evident that the effects are being felt by taxi operators.

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The South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) has distanced itself from the purported shutdown.

The National Taxi Association’s stance is that while they support the core principals of the alleged shutdown they will not be taking part in the strike action, as they aren’t even aware who it is sanctioned by.

Taxi operators are struggling to make ends meet as prices continue to rise. The increases in fuel has had a direct impact on their ability to break even on a monthly basis.

National Taxi Association spokesperson Theo Malele said: “As I speak to you people are losing their vehicles by virtue of not being able to meet their monthly financial obligations because of the pressures they are under as a result of the fuel price increases but also the increases of spares and basically overall maintenance of a vehicle.”

He spoke of the negative effect these increases have on their already tight margins and the ability to sustain their families.

“It has further squeezed our already squeezed margins to an extent that we are no longer able to afford our own livelihoods.

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“Remember we have families and as Africans we have extended families and those people are affected as well, so its a terrible state of affairs,” he said.

Taxi operators are no longer able to absorb the costs that are induced by the increases and he indicated that they may now have to adjust their tariffs if they are to remain profitable.

Malele clearly states that if government does not intervene the effects on taxi operators would be disastrous and could possibly drive many out of business.

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Speaking on the effect the soaring prices have on commuters he called on government to step up and assist the ordinary man on the street.

He said: “Government must actually move with haste to subsidise the passengers and stop pumping billions and billions in public transport systems that ferry the elite that is the Gautrains of the world.”

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