MEC of Roads and Transport Jacob Mamabolo speaks to a taxi driver during a visit to Mabopane Station yesterday. Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - Jacob Mamabolo has lambasted law-enforcement agencies for allowing non-compliant taxis to be on the roads. 

He said allowing unauthorised, non-compliant taxi drivers to operate with expired licences was like playing Russian Roulette.

“They are putting the lives of the public in jeopardy. These are some of the factors that cause major accidents,” he said.

Mamabolo was conducting a walkabout at the Mabopane Station, where he was joined by ward councillors and taxi association members.

Mamabolo said taxis ferried many people and had to make sure they met the legal requirements.

“Our mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers use the taxis every day. The thought of them being ferried by under-par taxis is scary and one could even call it suicide,” he said.

He said the taxi industry was massive, and played a vital role - directly or indirectly - in most South Africans’ lives.

In Gauteng, more than 3000 drivers caught between May and mid-July had 13568 outstanding warrants amounting to R31 million.

Yesterday, taxi drivers at the station pleaded with Mamabolo to scrap their tickets.

One of the drivers told Mamabolo the tickets they were getting were for obstructing traffic by stopping in undesignated spots to pick up or offload passengers.

He said there were no bus stops or taxi ranks in town.

“We’re working for our kids, not those tickets. We don’t want to stop on the road. Make us pick-up bays,” he said.

Pretoria - Drivers said their fines ranged between R20000 and R100000, and that they were driving with expired licences because they could not renew them until they had paid off the fines.

They were stuck having to work without licences.

“When I go to the traffic department they say I must pay R80000. Where am I going to get that?” one driver asked.

He was echoing the sentiments of many of the taxi drivers at the rank.

In the same breath, taxi drivers warned officers they would no longer be paying them bribes and said they were sick and tired of being harassed.

Mamabolo said a summit would be held in Tshwane on November4 and 5 to discuss driver behaviour and transport, and the challenges with which the taxi industry was faced.

Pretoria News