South Africa: It's Important to Understand the History of the Evolution of the Taxi Industry


The call to subsidise taxis is understandable, the question is how? In short, it is not just about mobility, it is also critically about the accessibility of jobs and other facilities.

On Sunday, 28 June 2020, the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) called on its members to openly defy government's Covid-19 regulations that restricted passenger numbers to 70% of a full load. This call occurred at the very moment that Covid-19 infections were climbing exponentially, notably in metropolitan areas of Gauteng where the majority of taxi operators are located.

On Monday, hundreds of thousands of workers were confronted with a cruel dilemma. "I have no choice," Leslie Baloyi, a commuter who travels from Soweto to Johannesburg, told Daily Maverick.

"I can either board the full taxi and risk contracting Covid-19, or not do so and get fired from work if I don't arrive on time. I would rather stick with the former." (Daily Maverick, 30 June 2020). This dilemma, this same no-choice choice to take the ride, was agonisingly expressed by numerous others in radio phone-ins, TV interviews and SMSes to news outlets. It could be read off the grim frightened faces at long queues at taxi ranks....

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