The South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) is holding virtual talks with Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula this weekend. The meeting is aimed at addressing a number of issues affecting the taxi industry during the national lockdown.
SANTACO says increasing taxis’ loading capacity and government’s taxi relief fund will top the agenda.
In the video, SANTACO rejects government’s taxi relief package:
Taxi operators have rejected government’s COVID-19 relief fund of more than R1.1 billion. They say the amount is not nearly enough compared to the losses they’ve incurred since the start of the lockdown.
“It’s a meeting where the Minister will give us feedback on what the command council has decided based on some of the issues that we have raised. We have requested for loading capacity to be open to 100%, the long distance operations to be opened so that there can be interprovincial and intraprovincial operations without permits. There is a huge demand from our commuters. We know that the issue of the relief fund is a hot potato it still remains a hot potato,” says SANTACO Spokesperson, Thabisho Molelekwa.
Tensions ran high on Monday when Minister Mbalula visited Soshanguve amid a Gauteng taxi strike, which left commuters without transport.
Mbalula appealed for cool heads as efforts to find a solution to the impasse continues. While acknowledging that the amount government is offering the industry is meagre, he reiterated that it came from a good place and there is no more money to offer the industry.
In the video, Mbalula visits Soshanguve amid taxi strike:
Taxis have had a 30% reduction in the loading passenger capacity due to COVID-19 lockdown rules. The prohibition of inter-provincial travel, closure of borders and restricted operation times have had a devastating impact on the industry.
Government has said the SA Taxi Finance will put a moratorium in place on vehicle repossessions and also extend their initial one-month repayment holiday by a further two months as part of measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on taxi operators.