Santaco not optimistic ahead of supplementary budget

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The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) says they do not have high expectations of Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s supplementary budget that will be delivered this afternoon.

On Monday, taxi operators in Gauteng blockaded roads around Pretoria and Johannesburg to protest against the government’s COVID-19 relief fund, which offers them an amount of more than R1-billion.

Operators say the amount is not nearly enough compared to the losses incurred since the start of the lockdown.

Santaco President Phillip Taaibosch says they will meet with Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula this afternoon to continue discussions.

He says they are not expecting the current status quo to change.

“We are expecting a situation where it will be said to us after the budget speech that you have to accept things as they are. We will be getting excuses. I know that this matter is still on the table with the Minister. I know we made proposals. We have a meeting with the Minister this afternoon and we have been having very cordial meetings with government and I believe that through talks, we will find each other and I’m still very positive,” says Taaibosch.

Taxi owners, drivers share their frustrations

After 20 years of being in the taxi industry, operator Oupa Skosana says his two taxis have not been generating sufficient income for his family since March after the country went into lockdown.

“I cannot run the risk of running up and down, coming back and park and accumulate high mileage and repair. As I’m saying, there’s no business. That’s on the metre taxi site. On the minibus, at times we park and at times, we work, maybe for two or three days (we) don’t work. That’s because of the loading capacity and because locally there’s no people going to work or coming back,” says Skosana.

In the video below, a taxi owner says his vehicle was repossessed as he was unable to service his debt:

During his address to taxi drivers amid the shutdown, Transport minister Fikile Mbalula urged protesting taxi drivers and owners to refrain from violence.

He reiterated that the allocated funds were merely to provide relief to the taxi industry, but will not possibly cover all losses incurred since the lockdown started.

In the video below, angry taxi drivers share their frustrations: