Thursday, 15 October 2020 15:55

 

Photo Credit:GCIS.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says government is working on a subsidy scheme to empower the taxi industry.

“As we make strides towards an industry that is truly empowered, we have made a firm commitment as government that such empowerment includes participation of the industry in the subsidy scheme,” Mbalula said.

Addressing the Western Cape Taxi Lekgotla discussions on Thursday, the Minister said his department is working with the National Treasury to finalise the model for the scheme.

“However, the empowerment model we must emerge with is one that must benefit every single legal operator in the industry, and not just a select few who hold leadership positions,” the Minister said.

Government has committed to positioning the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme to deliver on its strategic objective of transforming the economics of the taxi industry

“Ours is to build out of the taxi industry the best model of black economic empowerment this country has ever seen.  This is a sunrise industry on the cusp of an economic revolution.  Its future is long and bright and has many opportunities that places it on the path to unprecedented prosperity,” Mbalula said.

The Minister recently launched the Taxi Lekgotla Public Discourse platform to create sustained momentum and public engagement towards the National Taxi Lekgotla, planned to take place at the end of October 2020.

The discussions lay a foundation for engagement by stakeholders and civil society on the future of the taxi industry as the largest mover of people in the country; sharpening perspectives in conversation with industry players and opinion-makers on best practices in formalizing, regulating and empowering the taxi industry.

Mbalula said the industry must emerge from the Lekgotla with a pact that sets the industry on a path towards peaceful co-existence among operators and other modes of transport, which share the road space with the industry.

“Placing the lives of innocent commuters at risk to achieve the narrow self-serving interest of individuals is unacceptable and we must agree that this is a non-negotiable. 

“Equally, the prevalence of gender-based violence in the taxi industry is a demon that must be confronted head-on and eradicated.  Not only must the full might of the law be brought to bear against those who perpetuate this heinous crime; associations and industry leaders must take active steps to shun and expose those who continue with this behaviour,” the Minister said.

He said government must do its part in supporting the blueprint, which will emerge at the Lekgotla.  

“This includes honouring commitments made in engagements with the industry and ensuring accountability for implementing provisions of the law and consequences for failure to adhere to legal prescripts. 

“Endless delays in the issuing of operating licenses is not acceptable as this negatively affects the business of the operators who rely on these operating licenses for their livelihood,” he said.