29 October 2020
Staff Reporter/ PretoriaLIVE
EKURHULENI – President Cyril Ramaphosa virtually addressed the National Taxi Lekgotla on Thursday. The 3 day National Taxi Lekgotla is being at the Birchwood conference centre and is meant to find solutions to challenges facing the taxi industry and to formalise them..
President Ramaphosa said, “Today, the vast majority of public transport commuters use taxis followed by buses and trains. The industry is a major source of business creation with approximately 150,000 taxi business owners in operation.”
The taxi industry is a major employer of around 300,000 drivers and 100,000 rank marshals.
The president also said badly maintained and old vehicles threaten the safety of passengers and other road users.
“We share a common aspiration to see the minibus taxi industry overcome its challenges, adapt in response to the demands of modern public transportation, and ultimately to grow and thrive.”
Ramaphosa stressed that several challenges have tarnished the reputation of the industry. Some of these include the issue of labour relations and allegations of exploitation of workers; the high number of road accidents involving taxis; the industry’s response to the rise of e-hailing services; and compliance with tax laws.
Conflict relating to competition over routes and the associated acts of violence and criminality need to be addressed said Ramaphosa.
The lekgotla will also discuss the issue of subsidisation.
Ramaphosa said the government invested substantially in the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme and will continue to leverage its potential.
The president urged eradication of illegal operations that affect both the industry and government and are a catalyst for conflict.
“Illegal operations threaten the safety of passengers and open the door for licensing and insurance fraud.”
Given the financial size of the taxi industry, formalising it is a vital step towards ensuring its contribution to the national tax revenue base.
“Formalisation means greater regulation and the compact that must emerge from this lekgotla must be anchored in the rule of law,” added Ramaphosa.
Most importantly, formalisation will benefit not just operators but workers who will be able to benefit from social support like the Unemployment Insurance Fund and training funded by the Skills Development Levy.
The National Taxi Lekgotla kicked off on Thursday in Boksburg in Ekurhuleni and is aimed at addressing the challenges in the taxi industry and find ways of formalising the industry.