17 October 2017

South Africa: Transport and the National Taxi Alliance On the Planned Protest March

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Joint Statement by the Department of Transport and the National Taxi Alliance on the planned protest march read by the acting Director-General of the Department of Transport, Mr Mathabatha Mokonyama and Mr Alpheus Mlalazi, the General Secretary of NTA.

Good morning ladies and gentlemen and members of the media. Welcome to our media briefing today on matters relating to one of the most critical public transport modes and industries in the country, the taxi industry. We have called you today as per the directive of the Minister of Transport, Mr Joe Maswanganyi to convey the message emanating from the two meetings he held with the leadership of the National Taxi Alliance (NTA).

As indicated, the Minister, accompanied by the top management, met the leadership of NTA, led by its President, Ntate Masitsa on Thursday, 12 October and again on Monday, 16 October 2017 to discuss among others, the letters written to the Minister and in particular the last one that came in the form of a notice of an intention to embark on a protest march this coming Thursday (19 October 2017). The purpose of the march was to present a memorandum of grievances in relation to issues and challenges affecting the taxi industry, including but not limited to:

Some provisions of the National Land Transport Act, the NLTA,

Matters related to operations,

Integrated Public Transport Network, IPTN's/ BRT system,

Compensation for an operator surrendering an Operating License,

Taxi Recapitalisation Programme, and

Public Transport subsidy,

The most important to note is that, the time it took the Department to address these issues gave an impression that nothing is being done, including the assertion created that there is no willingness to engage, hence the decision to march. I will come to these two points later.

Although the meetings did not go into finer details regarding challenges facing the taxi industry, Minister Maswanganyi committed to a follow-up meeting where these concerns will be discussed and a comprehensive way forward determined as part of broader interventions to resolving challenges raised by the NTA.

Based on this commitment, the leadership of NTA agreed to suspend the proposed protest march, planned for Thursday 19 October 2017, to give the engagement a chance.

The Transport Minister would like to express gratitude to the leadership of the NTA for resolving to suspend the protest march and allow an engagement process to unfold in order to attend to the challenges facing the industry. There is no doubt that the planned march would have had a negative impact to the commuters, in particular and the entire country at large.

The Minister would like to assure the taxi industry and the public that the Department is fully committed to the provision of a safe, secure, reliable and quality public transport system.

Taxis are by far the biggest mode of choice among the majority of South African commuter. The mode accounts for over 68% of passengers transported daily. This makes it the most important mode used mainly by the poor. The ability to provide a door to door service makes taxis more attractive and easily accessible. It is for these and related reasons that government sees the need to nurture and develop the taxi industry.

On the other hand, the taxi industry contributes R40bn to the national economy each year and produce more than 300 000 direct and indirect jobs. This, taking into consideration where the industry comes from and how it was conceived, is a significant contribution. The country needs these jobs to grow the economy.

As a result, the Department will make all efforts to attend to current challenges facing the entire public transport sector and in particular the taxi industry.

As indicated the majority of the issues involve matters that are responsibilities of Provinces and Municipalities and as such a follow-up meeting will have to include the relevant MEC's and representatives of SALGA.

I thank you.

Issued by: Department of Transport

South Africa

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