Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has urged taxi associations to be mindful of the poor when increasing taxi fares.
He was reacting to reports that the Alexandra Taxi Association, in Johannesburg, will hike its prices from R11 to R30.
Dear Mr @MbalulaFikile
You promised us that the decreased number of passengers wouldn’t affect the taxi fares because YOUR job was to negotiate a way forward with the taxi association. This is a total abuse of power and AGAIN the only victims of your corruption are the poor. pic.twitter.com/HkVqkIGqJY
— Lunga Mchunu (@Lunga35772595) June 7, 2020
More than 50 other taxi organisations in Johannesburg also say they will be hiking fares.
Mbalula has reminded the industry that the current regulations prevent illegal profiteering. He says he will refer this matter to the Competition Commission to assess if the fare increases are both fair and justifiable.
Taxi associations say they have made a loss in revenue after government implemented national lockdown regulations amid the coronavirus pandemic. These include carrying a maximum of seven passengers in a minibus licensed to carry 10 passengers and carrying 10 passengers in a minibus licensed to carry 15 passengers.
“While Minister Mbalula empathises with the taxi sector, he has urged the associations and the operators to be mindful of the poor when they re-determine these fares especially in light of the financial relief that the Government is finalising to assist this industry,” says Transport spokesperson Ayanda Allie-Payne.
We are aware that some taxis have not been operating for some time now and that those which have been operating have been doing so at a limited capacity. We understand that there may be a need for fare increases but those increases must be fair. https://t.co/c1BPZBL23Z pic.twitter.com/mbBRGkuUkg
— Minister of Transport |Mr Fix (@MbalulaFikile) June 7, 2020
The Alexandra Taxi Association has urged government to give the taxi industry its long-awaited subsidy in order to support their business.
The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) has on the other hand promised to engage with taxi associations on their proposed fare increases. Spokesperson Thabiso Molelekwa says they will meet with taxi associations this week.
“Whilst we understand the predicament that the associations find themselves in, we wish to inform the public that Santaco will be having a national leadership meeting this week which, among other issues for discussion will be the taxi fare increase to look at the whole COVID-19 impact and other related issues that have impacted the operations of the taxi increase to try and understand how they could have arrived at that increase,” Molelekwa says.