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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

83 713 taxis destroyed, R5.9bn paid out to operators

In May last year, the department had set a target of 3,750 unroadworthy taxis to be destroyed by the end of March 2024.

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga has announced that the department has managed to destroy 83,713 of the 135,894 targeted unroadworthy taxis across the country.

The 83,713 target is 1,037 less than what the department had planned to destroy by March 2024.

In May 2023, the department had set a target of 3,750 taxis to be destroyed by the end of March 2024.

 The target was set in relation to the budget per vehicle.

When a taxi operator brings in their unroadworthy taxi to be scrapped, the government pays them about R151,000 per vehicle.

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This, according to the department, is aimed at reducing these vehicles to reduce accidents on the roads.

Briefing the media on the state of public transport in South Africa on Tuesday, Chikunga said about R5.9 billion had been paid out to operators through the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme (TRP).

The state of public transport in SA

Chikunga said although the country had made progress in improving the public transport system, the spatial segregation during apartheid still had a ripple effect.

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“Historic challenges of spatial segregation characterised by historical neglect and underinvestment still undermines the efforts and level of investments that have been committed over the 30 years,” she said.

“As regards to the integrated public transport networks, it is important to note that we have continued to provide new or improved existing public transport infrastructure. In the process, we created approximately 20,000 jobs under the sixth administration.”

The transport department has also implemented the National Learner Transport Programme in 2021. It provides safe transport to educational centres and improved school attendance and academic performance, said the transport minister.

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The programme was implemented in 4,204 schools across South Africa. It is fully funded and provides a free service to pupils with a budget allocation of R4.7 billion.

For pupils who do not fit the criteria for scholar transport, the department distributed 32,307 bicycles under the sixth administration.

SA roads ranked

South Africa has a 750,000km road network and ranks 11th globally, Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, said.

Of the 750,000km, 159,275km is tarred, placing South Africa 19th globally.

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“When we’re focusing on complaining about the potholes and the bridges that have not been done, we ignore that we’re number 11th globally and we don’t want to celebrate that. We want to focus on the half-empty and forget that within these 30 years, that’s the distance travelled,” said Ntshavheni.

“We don’t want to celebrate this because as South Africans we forget our past and that fractured history where a tarred road could not reach Kundamalema, where I come from because the wrong people lived there.”

ALSO READ: Transport Minister digs a pothole for herself

Ntshavheni further criticised South Africans who destroy roads during protests, saying this sets the country back.

“Today we talk about township extensions that rarely had a tarred road and they go and burn the very paved road looking for another road. Or my home people in Vuwani who dug up a whole tar road because they wanted a municipality,” said Ntshavheni.

“Three years later, they complain about potholes because they forgot that they dug the potholes themselves.”

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