Signing of National Land Transport Bill a massive win, say e-hailing stakeholders

Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga. Picture: Supplied by Prasa (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa)

Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga. Picture: Supplied by Prasa (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa)

Published Jun 29, 2024


The e-hailing industry has hailed the signing in of the National Land Transport Amendment (NLTA) Bill by President Cyril Ramaphosa as a a "massive win" for the industry.

The signing of the bill into law brought long-awaited clarity and formal recognition to e-hailing services.

Business Development Specialist for Africa at inDrive Ashif Black said the company was over the moon, adding that the law not only clarifies how businesses should operate but also reinforces the commitment to safety and reliability for e-hailing users.

“We are committed to working hand in hand with authorities to ensure a smooth transition.

“The legislation goes beyond just e-hailing. The Economic Regulation of Transport Bill aims to establish a Transport Economic Regulator tasked with regulating fares, investigating complaints, and overseeing compliance across the entire transport sector.

“This focus on economic growth and a well-functioning transport system is another key aspect of the new bills,” Black said.

He highlighted inDrive's dedication to both rider and driver well-being.

"We're passionate about empowering drivers with flexible earning opportunities while ensuring passengers have access to safe, reliable, and high-quality transportation.“

However, questions remain. How will the new regulations affect pricing for riders? Will drivers see a positive impact on their earnings? The industry awaits detailed guidelines to understand the full scope of the changes.

“We are ready to collaborate with national, provincial, and local authorities to facilitate compliance and support the roll-out,” Black concluded.

The signing of the e-hailing Land Transport Amendment Bill will see the introduction of compulsory operating licences for e-hailing drivers and will ensure that the service is brought in line with the evolving digital economy.

By law, drivers would be required to obtain national operating licences to work, replacing the previous cumbersome system of charter permits and meter taxi licences.

Those found breaching the law will face imprisonment of up to two years or a fine of up to R100 000.

It has taken 13 years for the National Land Transport Amendment Bill to become an Act of Parliament. It was originally passed by Parliament in 2020, but after concerns were raised about its constitutionality, the President sent it back to the House for reworking.

Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga welcomed the amendment of the National Land Transport Act, saying it paved the way for e-hailing service operators to apply for operating licences “like any other public transport operator”.

Chikunga said the department has been developing regulations in parallel to the process of finalisation of the NLTA Bill by Parliament to address the President’s reservations.

“The regulations were drafted, and the public was invited to submit comments through Government Gazette No. 49863. Public comments were received and considered by the department and incorporated where appropriate.

“Thereafter, extensive consultation ensued with key stakeholders in the public transport space, inclusive of e-hailing service operators and e-hailing applications owners.

“Now that the President has signed the Amendment Bill, regulations will be submitted to the Office of the State Law Advisor for certification and submitted to the Minister for approval.

“This means that the e-hailing services operators will move away from the interim usage of charter permits and meter taxi operating licences to operating licences,” said the minister.

Saturday Star

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