Cape Town - Opposition MPs on the portfolio committee on transport have questioned why Santaco was not invited to a committee meeting at which the recent taxi strike and the conditions for the suspension of the strike were discussed.
The virtual meeting called by committee chairperson Regina Lesoma (ANC) had invited officials from the three spheres of government, national, provincial and municipal and MPs wanted to know why the taxi industry had been omitted.
Committee member Thamsanqa Mabhena (DA) said by limiting invitations to the three spheres of government, they were missing out on “key and critical stakeholders in terms of Santaco and the National Taxi Alliance.”
He said the taxi industry was the biggest transporter of people nationally, commanding more than 60% of the public transport market and so the committee’s focus should not be limited to the Western Cape.
IFP MP Khetambala Sithole said Santaco and the NTA should have been at the meeting for them to explain why the negative things that happened in the Western Cape and elsewhere in the country happened on their watch.
Responding to the criticism, Lesoma agreed that the taxi industry should be invited to brief the committee at a later date.
She said she wanted the committee to examine the agreement and to discuss at a future meeting, how legislation thought up at a national level affected the local level when it was implemented and whether such laws had unintended consequences.
While officials from the City skipped the meeting and sent apologies, the province was represented by Mobility MEC Ricardo Mackenzie.
Mackenzie said the taxi crisis had been unfortunate, but it had also brought up the opportunity to deal with the structural issues in the taxi industry and that the opportunity should not be lost.
He said the taxi industry was part of the mobility ecosystem and needed to be integrated with a functional rail system. Mackenzie said the taxi task (team) had agreed on the agenda items for a three-day “imbizo” to take place this week.
He said this would include separating the critical points for immediate discussion from the longer-term issues