Western Cape taxi bosses agree not to hike fares for commuters
Chairperson Nazeem Abdurahman said the provincial executive committee of the taxi council, comprising eight regions in the province, had lengthy meetings last week regarding potential increases.
“The leaders felt that they are not going to increase taxi fares because they are putting our commuters first. They know that they are transporting the poorest of the poor commuters,” Abdurahman said.
Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela on Monday met with local taxi industry role-players at Khayelitsha taxi rank on proposed increases.
“I want to thank the representatives of Santaco in the province for showing leadership and engaging us as government, and for their co-operation during this difficult time,” Madikizela said.
He said Santaco also agreed not to advise its members to embark on a strike because they understand that the provincial Transport and Public Works Department was engaging with them in “good faith”.
However, Madikizela added, the government still had several outstanding issues to address between the department and the minibus taxi industry, one of them "the issuing of outstanding operating licences”.
A meeting to discuss the matter has been set for July 3.
“The relief fund allocated to the taxi industry is not enough and was never meant to compensate for the loss of income,” he said.
“We believe there are more sustainable ways to deal with the loss of income affecting the taxi industry.
“The Western Cape submitted proposals to the national Department of Transport to restructure a number of grants to compensate for loss of income.”
He said those grants could not be spent because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We believe that we can utilise these grants through initiatives like the Red Dot, a partnership between the Western Cape government and the minibus taxi industry to deliver critical transport services as part of the fight against Covid-19.”
Madikizela said the Red Dot system has transported more than 12 000 health-care workers over 150 000km, servicing 15 health-care facilities across the metropole, including major Covid-19 treatment facilities such as Tygerberg and Groote Schuur hospitals since its launch on May 18.
Santaco provincial spokesperson Gershon Geyer said it appreciated Madikizela’s commitment towards helping the taxi industry: “We want to commend him on his advocacy of the taxi industry and looking forward to the continued partnership between Santaco and the government.”@SISONKE_MD