Cape Town - Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula is expected to give feedback to the taxi industry today after his consultation with the provincial Members of the Executive Council (MEC’s) about the industry's demands.
This comes as the National Taxi Alliance (NTA) and the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) demanded an increase in taxi fares as from July 1, and requested Mbalula to revisit the long-distance operations and the 70% loading capacity, saying as the economy opens up and the government is employing a “differentiated approach”, the environment has become feasible enough for the parties to collectively develop mechanisms that would enable long-distance operations to fully resume and increase in loading capacity to phase in.
The industry met with Mbalula last Thursday over their concerns around financial assistance. Mbalula indicated that all relevant government departments were in agreement with regard to the provision of relief for the industry, and that the government was now putting the finishing touches to the modalities of distributing funds.
He said he noted the industry's request for a reconfiguration of the government's financial support and reminded the industry that the relief was not meant to be a rand-for-rand compensation, but rather financial assistance.
“These funds are to assist the industry. They cannot replace the losses that the operators have incurred as a result of the Coronavirus,” Mbalula said.
He also pledged to place the industry's concerns before the National Treasury and the National Coronavirus Command Council.
NTA spokesperson Theo Malele said in a meeting with Mbalula that they presented four issues to be reconsidered if the government was committed to seeing the taxi industry survive the lockdown.
“These are regulations on long-distance operations, a review of the 70% loading capacity, the Relief Fund and taxi fare increases.”
Santaco spokesperson Thabisho Molelekwa said Santaco has expressed the frustrations of the taxi industry in the delayed Relief Fund. While understanding challenges government may be facing, it has become nearly impossible for taxi operators to survive.
Molelekwa said since day one of lockdown, the taxi industry has been operating under severely constrained conditions, forcing some operators to park their vehicles, “yet by July 1, banks will expect every operator to pay their monthly instalments.”