Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula announced on Thursday that the Metrorail train services will resume on 1 July.
Briefing the media at the Sandton driving licence testing centre (DLTC), Mbalula said government was proactively seeking solutions to get trains back on track.
“We are in preparation to open up the rail space on 1 July and we are on course with regards to that. That will complement the taxi industry,” he said.
Mbalula also addressed issues concerning testing centres and the state of South Africa’s public transport system, taxi price hiking reports and protest plans.
The minister said his department and MECs were in discussions with the taxi industry including associations, the Alexandra, Randburg, Midrand and Sandton Taxi Association (Armsta) and the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) to establish a relief fund for the industry since taxis are allowed to operate only at 70% capacity.
“You can’t have a taxi fare that is raised to the point of 300%. That is exploitation and that is not fair. Should the taxi fares be raised, they should be fair and they must speak to inflation and also acknowledge the state of affairs,” he said.
Mbalula continued to say: “We have been discussing how and how much we must give and to who. The [South African Revenue Service] Sars will distribute the money to the recipients.”
He further discouraged the taxi industry to not protest after it was reported that taxis were planning a shutdown on 22 June.
“We don’t need a shutdown. There is nothing to be negotiated here as the government have made up its mind in terms of the financial support it will give, although it won’t meet the entirety of loss of the industry,” he said.
The minister also reiterated the call for compliance from all public transport operators and commuters, pointing to the consistent use of face masks as a non-negotiable.
Earlier on Wednesday, Santaco announced that it had withdrawn from negotiations with government on lockdown matters and fare increases.
Santaco president Philip Taaibosch was expected to clarify their stance and reasons for withdrawal at a media briefing later in the day, but that did not happen.
Armsta’s intention to hike taxi fares was in response to losses incurred due to government regulation for a 70% capacity on all taxi loads.
Meanwhile, Santaco in Kwazulu-Natal has announced that they have taken a decision to increase fares at the end of this month.