Plans for SA taxi industry revamp revealed
Cape Town - The Transport Department has unveiled its plans for the upcoming National Taxi Indaba, which will focus on formalisation – converting taxi businesses into corporate entities and ensuring compliance with the country’s tax and labour laws.
According to the department, the National Taxi Indaba will be enforcing a code of conduct for all operators, enforcing penalties for non-compliance and introducing legally binding mechanisms for a single industry representative body.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, his special adviser Lawrence Venkile, and Department of Transport director-general Alec Moemi, briefed members of Parliament about the indaba at the weekend.
Mbalula said the indaba would also discuss the issuing of operating licences and empowerment, the creation of a business value chain entirely owned by the taxi industry, severe penalties for operators involved in conflict, and the introduction of a subsidy system. “The dates of the indaba have yet to be announced,” he said.
Moemi said the indaba would be preceded by a public discourse platform to be launched in Johannesburg this month by Mbalula.
He said the objectives of the platform were to engage with stakeholders and civil society on the future of the taxi industry in its role as the largest transporter of people in the country.
SA National Taxi Council provincial spokesperson Gershon Geyer has welcomed the holding of the National Taxi Indaba.
Geyer said in 2005 the National Taxi Task Team (NTTT) had examined taxi-related issues. “There were recommendations to formalise the taxi industry, to build capacity as well as economic empowerment for the taxi industry,” he said.
He said the government should formalise the industry by creating associations with a constitution and a code of conduct to regulate them.
Geyer said ownership at grass-roots level should be at the heart of talks at the indaba.
“Secondly, on the agenda should be the elimination of the violence haunting the taxi industry.”
National Taxi Alliance spokesperson Theo Malele also welcomed the indaba, saying the government should modernise the taxi industry, "look at taxi violence, drug-dealing, alcohol, gambling and prostitution, which are happening at taxi ranks”, and consider building health facilities, police stations, traffic departments and crèches near ranks.
Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association secretary Mandla Hermanus said they believed the priority should be the subsidisation of the taxi industry.
“The other priority should be the eradication of violence, also the involvement of the industry, through government support, in the value-chain businesses in the transport sector.”