The taxi industry may not be perfect, but it represents in many ways what is needed in our country. Historically, it has achieved great success through its own volition, despite huge government interference.
It got no hand-outs, no subsidies, and built itself up by taking risks and working hard. Very few people work as hard as those very dedicated members of the taxi community. When I go to work in the very early hours of the morning, taxis are often all I see out on the roads at that time.
The taxi industry is truly a fine example of an open opportunity undertaking.
I want to congratulate the industry for its great strides, particularly over the last few years. We have created one South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO). We have accepted regulation and largely eradicated both corruption and route invasions - the two major causes of taxi violence.
SANTACO has created its own road safety organisation, Hlokomela, and works side by side with us and Safely Home, to prevent deaths on the roads.
I am proud to tell you that there has not been a major taxi incident resulting in the loss of many lives in this province this year, however, we still have a long way to go. Too many drivers are still grossly irresponsible on the roads, and give our industry a bad name, while our treatment of our customers still leaves much to be desired.
We must work on all these things.
We have inculcated a philosophy of peace, and solidified it with several peace meetings with our church leaders, like this one you are having today. I deeply apologise for not being able to be in attendance.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the religious leaders for their continuing support and for their spiritual mission to this important public transport community.
The recent deaths in the industry are tragic and very regrettable - and completely unnecessary. Nevertheless, we had two years without a single taxi murder, now we must make it 10 years without violence. All of our problems in the industry can be overcome without recourse to violence.
In closing, I wish you a peaceful and safe upcoming festive season.
As you know, I want you all to prosper and grow rich and die in your beds many years from now.