Pretoria - Taxi operators burst into celebration on Thursday morning when they received minibus taxis to add to their fleets.
SA Taxi took a decision to start giving its partners in the industry two minibus taxis and a R100 000 every month for 12 months until August 2022.
These taxipreneurs are selected monthly from a list of taxipreneurs who ensure that their accounts are fully paid and those that make and honour arrangements to clear their arrears as they fight to keep their businesses active.
Two lucky taxi owners received the first minibus taxis at SA Taxi's Midrand offices. They were joined by eight of their colleagues in celebration who received R10 000 each.
The aim is to recognise the taxi owners for fighting through all the difficulties and keeping their businesses alive and their employees paid during the pandemic.
Abel Msiza, 74, one of the first two beneficiaries, said: "I am so speechless; it is so unreal because after everything this company has done for me and my family I win a taxi sitting next to my wife and granddaughter.
"This is an emotional moment for me because I have been in the taxi industry for 42 years. I started as a taxi driver and worked for somebody else for nine years until I bought my own taxi.
"Today, I am an employer of 18 taxi drivers and now I'm going to add employee number 19. Can you believe I bought a farm because of this taxi business? That is why I am so happy and grateful to SA Taxi for their efforts to work with us and empower us."
Kgalalelo Moremi, 70, received a cash injection and immediately went into the offices to enquire about paying a deposit to get a third taxi and expand her fleet.
Maroba Maduma, SA Taxi spokesperson, said they had always seen themselves as a partner to the taxi industry and were concerned about the sustainability of the businesses that were being run by taxipreneurs.
"It is encouraging to see that one of the taxipreneurs who got an opportunity to increase his fleet from 18 to 19 started as a driver working for somebody else and now he is employing other people and is actually crediting us and our partnership with him for his growth in his business. He has even grown and ventured outside of the business by buying a farm.
"The purpose of today is to actually encourage people to act responsibly for the sustainability of their businesses and in so doing we have given them unencumbered asserts which are growth for their businesses and also another opportunity to employ other people.