File Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Stench, filth and infrastructure that is hazardous to the lives of commuters and drivers greeted officials who visited the Noord and Bree Taxi ranks in the Joburg CBD on Wednesday.

Jacob Mamabolo, the Gauteng MEC for Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure said he was shocked by the decaying conditions of the two taxi ranks AND that he would convene an urgent meeting with all Members of the Mayoral Committee (MMC’s) for Transport in the province to discuss the neglected state they're in.

Mamabolo, who was accompanied by taxi representatives from the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) and Gauteng National Taxi Alliance (GNTA), expressed his dismay at the state of the two facilities saying they serve as the infrastructure support for a major player in public transport.

“This taxi industry is critical in the province’s public transport system as it carries 70% of commuters. The condition of these facilities is totally unacceptable and cannot be tolerated” said Mamabolo. 

He added that the two ranks were a safety hazard to the lives of commuters and operators. 

“The condition of the ranks shows that the facilities have been neglected for years. This is demonstrated by the conditions we observed including lack of proper maintenance,” Mamabolo said.

He said the arrangement where the provincial government builds and hands over facilities to the municipalities was not yielding desired results. 

A new approach that will form the basis for consultations with the MMCs and other role players was needed, he said.

“I firmly believe that a bold, forward-looking and constructive approach is needed to resolve these issues. These facilities can be exploited to derive economic opportunities to benefit communities,” Mamabolo said. 

Mamabolo also indicated that in the quest to position Gauteng as a region of Smart Mobility and to facilitate the transformation and integration of all transport modes, Bree and Noord Taxi ranks need to be maintained to acceptable standards. 

He said the taxi ranks generate a lot of advertising revenue yet remain in a terrible condition.

“I am concerned about where all this advertising money is going and who benefits from it. 

"I am told that tenders for security, cleaning and maintenance are being issued, however, there are no services. 

"We need a complete overhaul of the way taxi ranks are managed. The state of these facilities shows how we have neglected the taxi industry including its infrastructure. 



'What I have witnessed here today says we need to act urgently because we have a crisis on our doorstep,” Mamabolo said.

He said the provincial government will make an assessment and look at various interventions to resolve the issue.

“Government’s intention to corporatize the taxi industry and all the strides we have made so far will not come to fruition if we fail to maintain our critical infrastructure. Our plans to provide a safe, efficient, seamless and affordable public transport system can only materialise when critical infrastructure is taken care of,” Mamabolo said.

The Star