Avatar photo

By News24 Wire

Wire Service

Black Business Council pledges support for Mbalula’s plans to formalise taxi industry 

Council treasurer general Bonolo Ramokhele said the impact of Covid-19 on the taxi industry showed that urgent steps were needed to 'entrench black operators in the value chain of the industry and formalise it'.

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula and the Black Business Council (BBC) held discussions at the National Taxi Lekgotla on Thursday, hoping to kick off a process that will end up formalising and subsidising the South African taxi industry.

The BBC said it believed the National Taxi Lekgotla was the start of a process that would empower taxi operators and unlock billions of revenue to the fiscus from the sector. The taxi industry transports millions of workers daily and is considered the backbone of public transport.

However, the industry is dogged with challenges, including the fact that operators are not as regulated as other forms of public transport and competition for dominance in some areas have taken a deadly turn with the occurrence of taxi violence.

During his address on Thursday, Mbalula said the department and operators have committed to re-imagining the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme so that the real beneficiaries of this massive public investment are taxi operators, rather than commercial banks, retailers and other corporates.

“To date, government has spent in excess of R4 billion and will spend more billions over the next five years. The endgame is a taxi industry that is able to recapitalise itself and benefits of this business cascading down to the last operator on the ground,” said Mbalula.

Mbalula said the National Taxi Lekgotla’s work should result in a business value chain entirely owned by the taxi industry, with strict conditions to comply with tax and labour laws alongside conduct that reinforces unity.

“We have made a firm commitment to introduce a subsidy system that includes full participation of the taxi industry,” Mbalula said.

In a separate statement by the council, BBC treasurer general Bonolo Ramokhele said the BBC fully supported the formalisation and subsidisation of the industry and would work with its affiliate in the sector, the South African National Taxi Council.

“We fully support the initiative of a National Taxi Lekgotla by Minister Mbalula and his collective as well as Black Business Council affiliate SANTACO. This initiative leading up to the National Taxi Indaba will allow all affected parties to engage meaningfully on reimagining the taxi industry,” Ramokhele said.

Ramokhele said the discussions at the National Taxi Lekgotla should also result in an economy that is more inclusive of taxi operators, where operators own a stake in every industry that affects their operations.

“We are of the view that the discussions going forward need to focus on the participation of taxi operators in the entire value chain of the taxi industry encompassing, manufacturing of taxi vehicles, tyres, spares, financial services and revenue management in all its manifestations such as ticketing, advertising and telecommunication services,” said Ramokhele.

The BBC statement said the impact of Covid-19 on the taxi industry showed that urgent steps were needed to “entrench black operators in the value chain of the industry and formalise it”.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.

Read more on these topics

BBC business news Fikile Mbalula