Committee appointed to address taxi issues in SA

Pretoria – The Gauteng Provincial Government has appointed a five-member cabinet committee to address all issues affecting the taxi industry.

The committee is made up of the MECs for Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane; Roads and Transport, Ismail Vadi; Economic Development, Lebogang Maile; Human Settlements, Local Government and Traditional Affairs, Paul Mashatile and Social Development Nandi Mayathula-Khoza.

Premier David Makhura announced this during the Provincial Taxi Indaba-Ntirhisano at the Standard Bank Arena in Johannesburg on Thursday.

The aim of the indaba was to resolve issues currently plaguing the industry, such as delays in the issuing of operating licenses, the safety of public transport and taxi violence.

The Premier said going forward, the challenges in the taxi industry, will be dealt with by the team of MECs.

The provincial government has also taken a decision to work with municipalities regarding handing over the maintenance of taxi ranks to the taxi industry in an effort to empower them to make extra income.

However, the taxi industry needs to get its ducks in a row for this initiative to work.

“We want the taxi industry to be involved in the expansion of the Gautrain. We also want them to be part of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system,” said Premier Makhura.

Regarding outstanding permit applications, where applicants are compliant, the provincial government will meet later in July to discuss this challenge.

The Premier said the appointed committee will also meet the metered taxi industry separately to look at all of their concerns. He said metered taxis played an important role in the transport industry.

Government will meet with all taxi operators every year going forward. “Next year in June, we will meet to report on the progress. This industry must be formalised and follow the law,” said Premier Makhura.

Some of the issues raised at Thursday’s meeting will be resolved immediately such as the issuing of the operating licences for 22-seater vehicles.

The Operating Licensing and Administration System receipt, which is given to operators who have applied for permits, will be taken as temporary permit, said the Premier.

He added that government wants to work with the taxi industry and urged the leadership of associations to encourage their members to comply with the law.

General Secretary of the Gauteng National Taxi Alliance (GNTA) Alpheus Mlalazi said they wanted unroadworthy taxis to be removed from the roads, also the taxi industry deserves the same privileges as other modes of transport such as dedicated lanes.

Johannes Mkonza, chairperson of the South African National Taxi council, said the taxi industry employs more than 600 000 people and transports 15 million commuters per day.

Other challenges raised by the taxi operators included the development of new taxi ranks in new shopping malls, empowerment of women in the taxi industry, the need for regional offices to process taxi permits and different regulations in cross border and long distances routes.