Santaco: We find Mbalula’s R1bn relief offer quite low
Santaco says the taxi industry has lost a minimum of R25 million a day since the lockdown, which could also lead to most owners losing their taxis to bank repossessions.
Taxis queue outside Wanderers taxi rank in Johannesburg to ferry people traveling home, Limpopo, Eastern Cape and countries such as Botswana and Zimbabwe during the festive season, 20 December 2019. Picture: Nigel Sibanda
We find Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s offer of relief to the taxi industry quite low, says South African National Taxi Council (Santaco), spokesperson Thabisho Molelekwa.
“We find the announcement quite precarious.
“We find the offer quite low for the industry because operators have already lost a lot of money. Since the lockdown, the industry has lost a minimum of R25 million a day, with the industry operating at 15% of its fleet.
“You also have to consider bank monthly instalments due at the beginning of July.”
He said the R1.135 billion package announced by Mbalula did not go to the taxi industry alone. “You had to consider meter taxis, Uber and Bolt industries who would get a chunk of that relief.”
This meant the difference to the industry left owners in a dire situation.
When it comes to the taxi industry’s cut, he estimated that ultimately the money they would receive would be less, as some of the relief would go to the drivers, while the rest went to the queue marshals and owners.
Estimating the amount that taxi owners would ultimately get after deductions on the relief fund, Molelekwa said owners would probably walk away with around R2,500 to R3,800 each, which left the industry in a precarious position, considering the impact of the pandemic.
Another meeting scheduled next week will provide the association with a platform to possibly add some positive input to the minister’s plans going forward, “to ensure that the operator gains some relief,” he said.
“In the next six months, you’re likely to see between 30 to 35 taxi operators losing their taxis to repossessions.
“We need to find practical solutions going forward.”
Santaco believes the minister gave the impression that the industry did not want to comply, which was inaccurate. The industry favoured compliance, it said, but systems to be put in place need a nod from both parties.