Vital developments in taxi industry

TAXI chairmen, drivers and associations met at Kibler Park Recreation Center to discuss the groundbreaking developments in the taxi industry on July 10. The meeting was called by The National Taxi Alliance (NTA).

It was a robust engagement where matters affecting the industry were tackled head on, reports the Southern Courier. Among other issues discussed on the day were the recent taxi violence in Soweto and the financing of the taxis by the alliance.

President of the NTA, Francis Masitsa, opened the meeting by confirming that peace has left the taxi industry, especially in Soweto. To date, law enforcement agencies are investigating at least 13 cases of murder and other cases of attempted murder, assault, damage to property and intimidation involving over 30 suspects and victims.

“I am making a humble plea to stop this violence. Peace to you. Let the guns stop blazing. How many more men, women and children must we lost? My instruction to the leadership of Nancefield-Dube West Taxi Association (Nanduwe) and Witwatersrand African Taxi Association (WATA) is to be locked in one room with NTA and they must not leave without any resolution.

“This is not how to grow and develop South Africa. This is not how to grow and defend the taxi industry because instead, we are inviting the enemy to come in through the back door. I, therefore, call each and every one of you to be an agent of peace,” he added.

Masitsa also mentioned that the state of the taxi industry in the country is disturbing. However, they have a plan. He revealed that the national taxi strike that was supposed to be held on July 12, was disingenuous.

On the state of the taxi industry, Masitsa said the taxi recapitalisation project that the government introduced was disastrous to the taxi industry. “They took our Siyaya taxis and brought China and Russian-made taxis. We told them that the prize of the new taxis will sky-rocket and will be unaffordable but the then Minister of Trade and Industry, Alec Erwin, said we will be forced to buy these taxis. The government had a relationship with these countries and that is why they wanted us to buy those taxis.”

He continued: “Within the NTA you have a promise. We say not some day or any other day but today we will help the taxi industry to finance itself. We have an economic transformation.” He told the attendees of the meeting the banks doesn’t want to finance the taxi owners and they will charge them over 25 per cent interest. “Because you cannot meet these exorbitant bank charges, we are saying to you today that we are taking over.”

He said that in 2006 the scrap allowance was R50 000 and it is now R87 000, however, the Siyaya taxi cost R130 000 then and the Quantum will now cost R400 000. “That is almost a 237 per cent increase. We say it is unaffordable. The most critical thing with NTA is that no application will be refused. We urge the taxi owners to be controlled and disciplined. If you stick with us, no taxi will be repossessed. People are asking whether we will succeed. I said – yes, we will succeed. This month we are like digging and putting the seed that will grow. Stick to the plan. We will finance our own vehicles,” Masitsa said.

One more problem that President Masitsa said it negatively affects the taxi industry and its name, is the abuse of women and children in taxis. He also addressed the problem, which negatively affects the taxi industry, of the abuse of women and children in taxis. “We told the NTA we will be vetting every taxi driver. We want to know the address of the driver, get a copy of a valid ID, drivers and PDP licences. We want our passengers to be safe.”

He continued to say they will be using technology to identify taxis and drivers involved in crimes. “The taxi industry is not a fortress for criminals. Anybody who rapes or murders one of our passengers should be jailed forever. Lastly, I want to reiterate: Phansi Ngezibhamu (Let’s put our guns down).”

The National Taxi Alliance (NTA) is a South African group body of affiliated independent national, provincial, regional and primary taxi associations. The primary objectives, for which the NTA was established for, are to promote and defend the interests of its members and to on an ongoing basis articulate its member’s hopes and aspirations, economically and socially.

They can be contacted on 011 331 9706/5894 or

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