Women in the taxi industry can only be empowered through the transformation of the business, says Gauteng Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo.
He was speaking at a provincial government seminar for women in the minibus taxi industry in Johannesburg on Monday.
The meeting came after a plea from women taxi operators for a platform to be created where they could engage with the provincial government on issues affecting them in the sector.
“This meeting comes on the back of the Provincial Taxi Summit, which made resolutions to transform and modernise the taxi industry, which is still faced with serious problems, including violence and patriarchal tendencies.
“Work to help corporatise the taxi industry would be fruitless if women, a majority of whom enter the sector as widows, are left out,” said Mamabolo.
He said women should take the lead in changing the behaviour of the drivers who they employ, as this would help reduce road fatalities.
“The provincial government, together with other stakeholders, including the taxi industry, will be holding an important Road Safety Seminar in November as part of seeking extraordinary measures to combat the number of deaths that occur on our roads,” he said.
Mamabolo extended an invitation to women in the taxi industry to work together with government to find solutions that would assist in combating road crashes. He said that many of the accidents could be avoided through a change in driver behaviour.
“The taxi industry, which carries 70% of the passengers in our province, should take the lead in the campaign for road safety. I believe an intervention from women operators could give us a lasting solution. At the moment, we are losing 40 people across all our roads in the country daily, and this situation has to be arrested,” Mamabolo said.
Mamabolo also invited renowned singer and actor Abigail Kubeka, who was assaulted, allegedly by a taxi driver after a collision in Soweto earlier this month.
Mamabolo condemned the violent attack on Kubeka and was joined by the women in the industry in offering an apology.
“We have made many strides in changing the industry over the past few months. It is true that we will not solve all the problems at once. But we were disappointed and shocked to find out about what had happened to Mama Abigail.”
The seminar is part of the department’s Transport Month programme, which seeks to promote Gauteng as the city region of smart mobility.
As part of this ambitious plan, the department has prioritised road safety, decongesting the road network, depolluting the roads and finding smart technologies to improve the transport sector.