- The deadlock between the taxi industry and government has intensified after SANTACO snubbed a R1 billion pay-out
- There is a looming taxi shutdown planned for Gauteng that will cause disruptions for many commuters
- SANTACO will go ahead with the fare increase they insist on, on 1 July
The ongoing feud between the government and the taxi industry has reached yet another stumbling block as taxi associations threaten to disrupt operations in Gauteng.
This was confirmed by the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) following futile engagements with Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.
In an effort to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the government issued a regulation that taxi passenger capacity should be at 70% percent.
While this has fostered social distancing, it has also eaten away at profits for the industry and continues to do so.
Two weeks ago the Alexandra, Randburg, Midrand, Sandton Taxi Association (ARMSTA) announced a 172% fare hike set for 15 June. This announcement received a lot of backlash. After negotiations, taxi associations agreed to not to increase fare prices.
Mbalula offered financial relief to the industry and explained that they needed to realign their profit expectations because of the financial implications that have come with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Briefly.co.za reported that the government offered a bailout of R1 billion to the taxi industry and taxi bosses rejected this amount, demanding more.
SANTACO spokesperson Thabisho Molelekwa argued that delays in financial relief strategies promised by government had only increased tensions among taxi operators.
SANTACO also announced that it would be raising its fares on 1 July. Molelekwa added that indeed the fare would be increasing and provincial structures would be left to determine their own increases. It is estimated that fare could rise by up to 25%.
Molelekwa also announced that plans for the Gauteng shutdown are underway and would be communicated soon.
A 2019 Business Insider report revealed that minibus taxis represent 75% of all transport to work, schools and universities in South Africa. Minibus taxis are responsible for 15 million daily commuter trips.
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