In an attempt to avert a public transport meltdown, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula meets with disgruntled taxi associations, while the president’s proclamation of relaxed lockdown regulations pertaining to ‘Advanced Level 3’ come under serious scrutiny.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, who has spent most of the week in robust discussions with taxi associations, is expected to reveal details of government’s previously-rejected relief proposal and the way forward for the country’s embattled public transport system.

In addition to announcing sharp fare increases, which will come into effect on 1 July, the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) has vowed to orchestrate a ‘shutdown’ in Gauteng.

Tensions between the taxi industry and government have been simmering for months, primarily as a rest of lockdown limitations on minibus capacities which have had harsh financial consequences for both owners and drivers.

Recently, Santaco rejected a once-off relief offer tabled by government. It’s reported that taxi associations are looking for 300% more than Mbalula is willing to offer.

Reasonable  price increases in July

Santaco said it would increase prices but ensure that these are reasonable and affordable. This had nothing to with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, said association spokesperson Thabiso Molelekwa.

He said if Santaco does not implement the price hike, at least 45% of their vehicles would be repossessed.

Increases capped at between R5 and R7

Several taxi associations in Gauteng will increase their prices by between R5 and R7 as of July 1. Gauteng Santaco chairperson Johannes Mkhonza said this will depend on the distance of the route, but the increase must be capped at R7.

He said the fare increase was necessary as Santaco members struggle with operational costs, which sees them cough up between R15,000 and R16,000 on vehicle installments.

Source: TimesLive, The South African




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