- The Minister of Transport has issued a warning to taxi bosses after a 172% taxi fare hike
- Fikile Mbalula has threatened to take the Alexandra, Randburg, Midrand, Sandton Taxi Association to the Competition Commission
- Mbalula said the government is working on a financial relief for the taxi industry
The Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula has issued a warning to taxi bosses after some Gauteng taxi operators are set to hike fares by up to 172%. Mbalula threatened to take the taxi operators to the Competition Commission.
The Alexandra, Randburg, Midrand, Sandton Taxi Association (ARMSTA), announced that a trip from the township of Alexandra, north of Johannesburg, will increase from R11 to R30 as from June 15.
In a notice to passengers, the taxi association said the increase was due to the government's Covid-19 regulation of limiting passenger capacity to 70% in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.
The taxi association's notice said:
"This increase is necessary as we are losing revenue and government is not assisting taxi operators".
Yesterday Mbalula said he was aware of the problems and urged taxi associations to be mindful of the poor when determining new taxi fares. Mbalula added that the government is finalizing a financial relief to assist the taxi industry.
Current Covid-19 regulations forbid any exorbitant price hikes and illegal profiteering as a result of the pandemic. Mbalula said he would be taking the matter of the Competition Commission to assess if the fare hikes are fair and justifiable.
"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. The industry must take into consideration the plight of the poor and the working class, who form the majority of their customers. Anything outside of that fairness is illegality"
South Africa National Taxi Council Chief Strategist Bafana Magagula said they did not advise associations to increase their fares randomly, but to always consider increasing fares during the months of June and July each year.
Alpheus Mlalazi, the General Secretary at the National Taxi Alliance, said they were aware of the price hike at the two taxi associations, but that those were the only associations to have increased their fares.
Businesses that have been taken to the Competition Commission and charged include Dischem for hiking its mask prices, Sicuro Safety and Hennox Supplies for contravening the Competition Act.
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