Amid growing concerns over the rising global fuel prices, the United Taxi Association Front (UTAF) has warned that it will embark on a national shutdown if government does not come up with solutions to the record fuel price hikes.
UTAF, which is affiliated with the National Taxi Alliance (NTA), on Thursday said the excessive increases in fuel prices had negatively affected the taxi industry and commuters, adding that it was looking into increasing taxi fares by R10.
Speaking at a media briefing in Johannesburg, UTAF spokesperson, Sipho Nkwanyana, said the association gave government 21 days to come up with a plan for the rising fuel prices.
“We are left with no option but to increase fares for our members to be able to survive. Given the limitless escalation of the fuel price recently and the upward effect this has on other costing components.
“We found ourselves forced to increase fares by at least R10. However, we are trying to mitigate the price increase,” Nkwanyana said.
Nkwanyana said they were engaging with government on the various available options to reduce the price of fuel, saying they did not want to embark on a national shutdown as this would affect the country’s economy.
“The taxi industry is a vital industry as it employs about 300 000 drivers and 100 000 marshals. It benefits 100 000 car washers and 150 000 street vendors at taxi ranks.
“The industry generates R90 billion revenue annually and spends R39 billion on fuel and R22 billion on vehicle insurance. This is how vital the industry is to the economy,” he said.
Meanwhile, the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) said the recent July taxi fare increase were not due to the current petrol increases, but part of its annual review of taxi fares.
“The taxi fare increase is not a response to the current situation of the unprecedented increases of the petrol price; it’s just your normal taxi fare increase,” SANTACO spokesperson, Thabisho Molelekwa, told The Citizen.
Molelekwa said it would be “illogical” to embark on a national shutdown when government was not to blame for the unprecedented global fuel price hikes.
“SANTACO has already engaged with the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mabula, on the matter and we agreed on the second round [of talks] to deal with possible ways in which the industry can find relief as far as petrol prices are concerned,” he said.