Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has released a discussion document for the upcoming National Taxi Lekgotla.

The Taxi Lekgotla is scheduled to take place in October 2020.

This will assist the government to formulate ways to formalise the taxi industry, tackle taxi violence and sets standards for taxi operators to pay corporate tax.

The document will further guide the government with the introduction of a subsidy scheme for taxi operators and commuters. The R40 billion industry ferries about 15 million commuters daily on the country’s roads.

The formalisation of the taxi industry with over 300 000 vehicles had been on the government’s wishlist for years.

The discussion document will pave way for the upcoming National Taxi Lekgotla next month. This will lay a foundation for engagement by stakeholders on the future of the taxi industry.

Mbalula addressed the media in Pretoria.

“These recommendations which were a product of a consensus between the taxi industry, civil society and government affirm the need for an industry that’s formalized, effectively regulated and empowered. Every time you go around the corners you hear the stories that the taxi industry is not formalized, don’t pay tax, and they’re unregulated, not subsidised.”

Mbalula says the introduction of the long talked about subsidy scheme benefit the operators and commuters in various ways.

“We’ve made a firm commitment that the time has arrived for the taxi industry which moves the vast majority of our people to benefit from the subsidy scheme which will form an integral part of our economic package for the industry. Now in government we are already thinking about the implementation of this subsidy scheme from the first of April in 2021. That’s what we are talking about. As we discuss this is what we are talking about because it is long overdue.”

The Minister has decried the persistent disunity and violence that prevails in the taxi industry.

“The industry must accept that there’s no room to tolerate violence. Severe penalties must be meted out against those found to be a party to such violence. This may include withdrawal of licenses for such operators and other harsh penalties.”

Mbalula is however optimistic that the anticipated Taxi Lekgotla will among others seek to address the challenges posed by the prevalence of illegal operators.

“You know “ba khona i-fly by nights” in this industry. People who just operate, picky bag and all those things. In our database we’ve got 137 000 operators E-natis. But we know out there we’ve got 300 000 taxis. Out of the 200 000 it is estimated that 63 000 operate without operating licenses and therefore illegal.”

According to the department, the modernisation of the taxi industry will assist a great deal in transforming the drivers’ attitude and phasing out the exclusion of other types of taxis entering the industry.

Transport Minister releases National Taxi Lekgotla discussion document: