The National Taxi Alliance (NTA) has pleaded with financial institutions to accept its proposals for an altered repayment structure for the next few months to avoid the repossession of minibus taxis.
NTA spokesperson Theo Malele on Wednesday said they are negotiating with banks to grant taxi operators staggered incremental installments.
Malele said they are proposing a 50% payment for the first month, 65% for the following month, 75% for the third month and 100% the fourth month.
“We believe that this arrangement will provide a feasible recovery plan for both the financial institutions and the taxi industry,” said Malele.
They are grateful to all financial institutions who granted the taxi industry payment holidays between April and June due to the coronavirus, he said.
“We are seriously concerned about the end of the payment holiday. From 1 July, financial institutions will be expecting full payments. Many will default on their payments because of the Covid-19 regulations that have forced taxis to observe physical distancing by loading fewer passengers and [having] de-barred long distance and cross-border taxis from operating.
“This effectively means taxis have been not operated profitably since 27 March and are unable to make provisions for payments of installments,” Malele said.
During their ongoing negotiations with Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, Malele said they tabled a “strong and compelling” case for the immediate relaxation of the regulations.
Malele said they want Mbalula to allow for 100% loading capacity again and for long distance taxis to return to the road.
“The expected relaxation of the regulations will allow the taxi industry to realise the reasonable profits able to allow taxi operators to honour their contractual obligations with financial institutions.
“We have taken this initiative with a greater understanding [of] the devastating effects of Covid-19 to the economy, government and the taxi industry. The NTA commits itself to working with all progressive forces in stemming the tide of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Malele.