With October being transport month, it’s only fitting that the National Taxi Lekgotla kicks off on Thursday 29 October 2020. While Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula is set to lead robust discussions and engagements with the taxi industry and key stakeholders in Boksburg, Gauteng, President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to deliver the keynote address.
Ramaphosa, however, will be joining virtually as it was revealed on Wednesday that he had come into contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19. He has, therefore, needed to undergo a period of self-quarantine.
The final recommendations of the National Taxi Task Team (NTTT) that were accepted by government centred around three broad themes namely; formalisation, regulation and control and economic empowerment.
TAXI LEKGOTLA: UNITY AND LEADERSHIP
The NTTT final recommendations that were accepted by government directed that leadership structures must be established at National, Provincial and Regional levels, representing the entirety of the industry.
The leadership structure must represent all types of taxi operations, short distance, long-distance, and metered taxis at all levels.
Mbalula said the prevalence of illegal operators affects the industry and government in many ways.
“Firstly, they shrink the revenue base by complicating the supply side of business through uncontrolled entry into the market. Secondly, they provide perverse incentive for conflict and third, they worsen the industry safety profile as they are more prone to employing illegal and dangerous tactics to get customers and maximise profits,” he said.
“They distort planning and by extension adversely affect the efficiency of planning and law enforcement. Lastly, they perpetuate criminality,” he added.
INDUSTRY EMPOWERMENT MODEL
Mbalula said the taxi industry must emerge with an empowerment model that truly empowers the industry with the real beneficiaries being individual operators.
“We have committed to reimagining the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme such that the real beneficiaries of this massive public investment are taxi operators, rather than commercial banks, retailers and other corporates.
Back in September, Mbalula said the taxi industry has tremendous potential to become a model for empowerment.
“This is an industry that generates revenue in excess of R40 billion per annum and consumes more than 2.1 billion litres of fuel per annum,” he said.
Mbalula said the discussion points at the National Taxi Lekgotla are intended to stimulate debate and discussion and do not represent any hard and fast position of government or any industry structure.