Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Sunday he was concerned about the intention of the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) to protest on Monday because of their dissatisfaction with the rescue package announced to the industry this week.
However, strict measures apply to the disbursement of the money and the process is used at the same time to formalize the taxi industry. Conditions include that a taxi company that wants to qualify must be formally registered as a business enterprise; that the business must have a business bank account in which the money can be paid and that the business must be registered for income and other related taxes. The South African Revenue Service (SARS) handles the payments.
Mbalula also said a moratorium was placed on vehicle recalls and taxi operators’ initial one-month payment holiday was extended by another two months.
In response to the announcement about the aid package, Santaco said he was going to protest on Monday because the package was hopelessly inadequate. According to the association, the money is split between about 60,000-meter taxis, e-taxi services, and cross-border taxi operators. The balance is then paid to other taxis and, according to Santaco, amounts to about R3 800 per taxi.
Taxis also demand that they henceforth be allowed to carry 100% of their passenger capacity. They are also dissatisfied because SARS manages the disbursement process.
According to Mbalula, the proposed protest is “unlucky and counterproductive” and does nothing to help the industry. “A prost will not only adversely affect the working class, but will also exacerbate the devastation of the economy.”
The minister said the decision to make the more than a billion rand available was not an easy one. “We had to scrape the bottom to get to that amount because we believe the taxi industry, which carries most of our people, deserves it.