Gauteng MEC for Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure, Jacob Mamabolo, will convene an urgent meeting with all Members of the Mayoral Committee (MMC's) for Transport in the province to discuss the state of decay at the taxi ranks.
This follows his visit to the two major taxi ranks, Bree and Noord, in the Johannesburg CBD on Wednesday, where he was shocked by the level of filth, stench and complete neglect of both facilities.
MEC, accompanied by taxi representatives from SANTACO and GNTA, said he believes that the arrangement where the Provincial Government builds and hands over facilities to the municipalities is not yielding desired results. He added that a new approach is needed that will form the basis for consultations with the MMCs and other role players.
"I firmly believe that a bold, forward-looking and constructive approach is needed to resolve these issues. These facilities can be exploited to derive economic opportunities to benefit communities," Mamabolo said.
The MEC expressed his dismay at the state of the two facilities as they serve as the infrastructure support for a major player in public transport - minibus taxi sector that carries the majority of commuters.
"This taxi industry is critical in the province's public transport system as it carries 70% of commuters. The condition of these facilities is totally unacceptable and cannot be tolerated" said Mamabolo.
He added that the two ranks are a safety hazard to the lives of commuters and operators.
"The condition of the ranks shows that the facilities have been neglected for years. This is demonstrated by the conditions we observed including lack of proper maintenance," Mamabolo said.
MEC indicated that in the quest to position Gauteng as a region of Smart Mobility and to facilitate the transformation and integration of all transport modes, these facilities need to be maintained to acceptable standards.
The facilities were identified by Premier David Makhura in his State of the Province Address as needing urgent intervention from the Gauteng Provincial Government.
Mamabolo also observed that taxi ranks generate a lot of advertising revenue yet they remain in terrible condition.
"I am concerned about where all this advertising money is going and who benefits from it. I am told that tenders for security, cleaning and maintenance are being issued; however, there are no services. We need a complete overhaul of the way taxi ranks are managed. The state of these facilities shows how we have neglected the taxi industry including its infrastructure. What I have witnessed here today says we need to act urgently because we have a crisis on our doorstep," Mamabolo said.
The MEC remarked that following this visit, the provincial government will make an assessment and look at various interventions to resolve the issue.
"Government's intention to corporatize the taxi industry and all the strides we have made so far, will not come to fruition, if we fail to maintain our critical infrastructure. Our plans to provide a safe, efficient, seamless and affordable public transport system can only materialise when critical infrastructure is taken care of," concluded Mamabolo.
Issued by: Gauteng Roads and Transport