The Rustenburg taxi operators, in the North West, say they are forging ahead with plans to advance the formalisation of the sector, with the formation of the Rustenburg Long Distance Transport Holdings (RLDTH) as a step towards formalisation.
Six long-distance taxi associations in the city have come together to form the RLDTH and have called on the government to work with them to achieve their goal.
Transport is regarded as one of the mainstays of the South African economy. There have been calls for the sector to be formalised amid growing concerns of instability in the industry.
RLDTH has so far introduced three initiatives to formalise the industry
In 2019, it drafted a plan to register a Mobility Co-operative Bank to finance taxi owners. They also built a diesel depot for long distance taxis. It also embraced the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) by introducing a cashless service, where commuters will use their bank cards to pay for a ride.
In the video below, Rustenburg taxi operators embrace the 4th Industrial Revolution:
RLDTH CEO Bennet Africa says the aim is to advance the formalisation of the industry through these three initiatives.
Africa says, “We are registering drivers formally. Drivers will be paid above the minimum wage. We are looking at taxi sectoral determination salary bill and we will pay them accordingly. We are going to pay skills levy to Tita so that our drivers are trained and once drivers are formally employed then that is the change, because once drivers are formally employed that is going to change their lives when he leaves the job. He would be able to claim his UIF.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic having had an adverse effect on the economy – the taxi industry is no exception, this has delayed all plans by the RLDTH to formalise the sector.
“Level Two – we can now operate inter-provincially with 70% sitting capacity. But now when you look at the Reserve Bank, they expect that we should pay a million on the exercise, so we could not accumulate that, we are halfway. We could not accumulate that because of the lockdown. We tried to have a diesel depot which you see behind you, it also had to stop,” says Africa.
In the video below, Mbalula to start the process of formalising taxi industry by April 2021:
He adds that the only hope for now is getting assistance from the government to subsidise the taxi industry.
“We are very much impressed to see that after we went to the media, about the formation of the bank, the minister is now coming up with the same concept. So we are SARS compliant, we are on the central database, we are waiting on the government to assist us…” added Africa.
The RLDTH hopes to see their challenges addressed when the Department of Transport launches the Taxi Indaba.
In the video below, the transport department to launch National Taxi Lekgotla: