Transport Minister Blade Nzimande says the reviewed Taxi Recapitalisation Programme that followed the damning report by the Public Protector will help government in rooting out illegal taxis.

The Public Protector’s report found that some minibus vans were being illegally converted into taxis.

Nzimande says government decided to revise the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme with the sole aim of creating a sustainable industry.

He says the appointment of a company in which the taxi industry has the majority shares, Anthus Services 84, could help with empowering people.

“We would like to see the taxi industry graduating as it were and be able to sustain itself through effective participation in commercial activities. Secondly, we want also to establish a process on dealing with the illegal operations and verification process. And this will determine the extent of illegal taxi operations across the country by conducting a national wide survey to populate or to create a comprehensive data-base of minibus taxi operators and operations.”

The Transport Ministry says it has budgeted R8 billion for the minibus taxi scrapping process which resumed in March. Deputy Director-General Mathabatha Mokonyama says the scrapping budget does not include the scholar transport and Cross Border minibus taxis.

2 353 illegally converted panel vans, which were identified by the Public Protector as unsuitable taxis, are among those to be scrapped.

Mokonyama says the increase in scrapping costs from R91 000 to R124 000 per taxi has necessitated the increased budget.

“At R124 000 increasing with CPI every year, you’re looking at just under R8 billion, R7.8 billion that goes to the taxi owners who bring their vehicles. That is of course on condition that all of them are brought and get scrapped. The minister has spoken about us also taking advantage of the programme to go to the most challenging area which is scholar transport and Cross-Border. That could add the number a little bit.”