Various government departments, including Treasury, will be roped in to explore all possible funding mechanisms to help the taxi industry, which claims to be paying “exorbitant” interest rates when buying vehicles.
This was said at a media briefing in Pretoria yesterday, where Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi announced alongside the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) that Wednesday’s planned strike by the taxi industry had been cancelled.
A meeting was held between the department and Santaco on Friday after the department committed itself to meet with transport industry roleplayers to discuss the transformation of the public transport industry, Maswanganyi said.
“Up front, we would like to indicate that we agreed with the industry to put on hold the planned strike for July 12 to allow for further engagement on issues that Santaco brought to the attention of government.
“Both government and Santaco agreed to work together to confront challenges that the taxi industry continue to experience on a daily basis as clearly articulated in the meeting,” he said.
Last month, the province came to a standstill when Santaco members blocked all major routes and highways, protesting against the lack of subsidy by government and no access to financing. The taxi council also voiced concerns about delays in the issuing of operating licences and paying exorbitant interest rates when purchasing minibus taxis.
Santaco’s deputy president Boy Zondi said Maswanganyi was the seventh minister the industry was engaging with regard to taxi industry subsidies.
“We agreed with the minister to set up committees to look into all these issues. If we get frustrated, we will inform the minister that we see no progress and therefore will march,” he said.
As taxis were the preferred mode of public transport in the country, accounting for over 68% of daily commuters, Maswanganyi said the issue of subsidy needed to be urgently addressed.
“As government, we note the frustration that the taxi industry is experiencing with regards to accessing finance,” he said.