Saturday, 20 June 2020 19:51

 

The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) said government should explore other avenues to ensure the sector is awarded more in taxi relief support.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula yesterday announced a R1,135 billion relief package to aid thousands of taxis and their operators during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mbalula said that, due to the reduction in the number of passengers allowed, the restriction of inter-provincial travel and time restrictions, the taxi industry had been hard hit by the Covid-19 lockdown. This means the taxi industry has been operating at less than 60% of its fleet size and carried 30% less of its licensed carrying capacity. Almost 20% or more of the taxi industry experienced total loss of income.

Santaco said the amount is insufficient and that government must find more money.

Minibus taxi owners aren't happy with the conditions attached to accessing the funds, such as registering with Sars and opening a business bank account.

Santaco said it will shut down the province on Monday after it refused to accept the transport department's R1 billion relief measure to help ease the impact of COVID-19 on the taxi industry.

Mbalula warned against any planned shutdown by the industry.

"Shutdowns will not work. It will be detrimental to the industry itself and its survival. But equally, we would be misunderstanding the whole situation we are in, which is fighting COVID-19. And the taxi industry has come to the party in a big way. And we appreciate that."

Santaco is set to meet with Mbalula, following his meeting with the National Coronavirus Command Council this week.

It's still unclear if the shortfall will be passed on to commuters, through drastic price hikes.