An A Re Yeng bus at a bus stop.

[email protected]

DISGRUNTLED taxi drivers in Hammanskraal, who took to the streets last week, must take up their complaints over salary cuts with their local taxi associations.

This was according to one of the board directors at A Re Yeng's Tshwane Rapid Transit (TRT) Abnar Tsebe, who yesterday responded to issues raised by the drivers during a protest. 

Drivers protested against the agreement between their taxi association and the City of Tshwane to terminate their trips from Wonderboom to the CBD.

They barricaded the R101 route to Pretoria with burning tyres, leaving commuters stranded.

Their office was torched by bus commuters, who were angry after their bus was stopped from transporting them to work.

They claimed the implementation of the agreement had resulted in their weekly salaries being reduced from R1000 to R150.

According to them, their salary reduction was due to restrictions in operating on the inner-city roads, which meant they were not making enough money.

Tsebe said: "The Tshwane Rapid Transit has noted with concern media reports that the agreement between the entity, the City of Tshwane and three taxi associations in Hammanskraal, Stinkwater, Eersterust and Ga-Monke has resulted in revenue losses for taxi operators due to the restrictions in operating on the inner city roads."

A board director at A Re Yeng' Tshwane Rapid Transit says taxi drivers in Hammanskraal report their bosses for salary cuts to taxi associations. Video: Rapula Moatshe

He said all associations were compensated in line with this commitment for the losses resulting in the termination of the Wonderboom route. 

"The conditions of the payment were clarified prior to the allocation of funds, and Tshwane Rapid Transit thereafter deposited the said funds into a Trust account managed by the three taxi associations. Individual taxi owners from the three associations were requested to sign the new agreement as part of their commitment with the new terms of reference," he said.

Tsebe said there was no "factual evidence" to back up their complaints emanating from the salary cuts because no one had formally complained to relevant structures.

"They are saying they are getting R150 but there had never been one driver complaining that a taxi owner paid him R150. The Hato taxi association executive and taxi drivers had an agreemnt that they will pay drivers a basic salary and not on percentage and the basic salary is R1000." Tsebe said.

He advised drivers to elevate their complaints to local taxi associations.

While symphathetic to the drivers' situation, he also pointed out that they misunderstood the nuts and bolts of the contract between the City and associations.

"They are mixing issues. They are talking salaries and drop-offs. We told them that drop-offs are non-negotiable because the industry agreed and signed. All that needs to apply is that if that is an issue, the operators must pay back the money to the City,"he said.

According to Tsebe, the idea behind the contract was to ensure transport integration plan in the City was in place and developments in the taxi industry.

He said proper consultation took place prior to the signing of the agreement.

"The owners of vehicles agreed to the agreement with the City of Tshwane to drop off at Wonderboom," he said.

He dismissed claims that the new arrangement to drop of passengers at Wonderboom unfairly affected commuters.

"The fares paid by commuters were still the same,"he said.

Tsebe and MMC for Roads and Transport Sheila Senkubuge had a meeting with taxi drivers representative last week.

He said: "They said they want these buses (A Re Yeng buses) to come to Hammanskraal. And then you can imagine that if these buses go to Hammanskraal and charge R20 instead of  R24 - what will happen to the industry. For them to call these buses to Hammanskraal is like killing the industry."

The City said an amount of R300 000 was paid for each of the 375 minibus taxis as a compensation for ompensated for the Rainbow Junction in Wonderboom to CBD route.