Toy­ota to dis­cuss is­sues

Meet­ing within the next week to de­bate the com­plaints of the op­er­a­tors

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - Roy Cokayne

SE­NIOR ex­ec­u­tives from Toy­ota South Africa Mo­tors’ (TSAM) and taxi in­dus­try lead­ers will be meet­ing within the next week to dis­cuss the com­plaints of taxi op­er­a­tors fol­low­ing the block­ade yes­ter­day of the ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­turer’s plant in Prospec­ton in Dur­ban by thou­sands of taxis.

The protest halted pro­duc­tion at the plant.

MP Fil­tane, a spokesper­son for Mass Taxi In­dus­try Protest Ac­tion Com­mit­tee, which or­gan­ised the block­ade to protest the taxi in­dus­try’s to­tal ex­clu­sion from the in­dus­try’s value chain, con­firmed yes­ter­day that the protest at Toy­ota SA had been sus­pended and they would be meet­ing with TSAM’s se­nior man­age­ment within the next week to dis­cuss the com­plaints of taxi op­er­a­tors.

Fil­tane said that they had al­ways in­di­cated that the du­ra­tion of the protest ac­tion would de­pend on the re­sponse from tar­geted en­ti­ties.

Suben Mood­ley, the se­nior vice-pres­i­dent cor­po­rate ser­vices at TSAM, con­firmed yes­ter­day that al­most 600 units of pro­duc­tion were lost over two shifts at the plant be­cause of the block­ade.

“Toy­ota SA was in­formed about the planned march and ad­vised staff not to come to work today (yes­ter­day).

How­ever, staff work­ing the pre­vi­ous night’s shift were un­able to exit the plant un­til the protest ac­tion was over.

“Our pro­duc­tion di­vi­sion is eval­u­at­ing the need for mit­i­ga­tion ef­forts,” he said.

Mood­ley was un­able to quan­tify the cost to TSAM of the lost pro­duc­tion.

He added that TSAM ex­ec­u­tives had re­ceived a me­moran­dum from SA Na­tional Taxi Coun­cil rep­re­sen­ta­tives and it was cur­rently be­ing re­viewed “to eval­u­ate the re­quests”.

Mood­ley said TSAM would en­gage with San­taco ex­ec­u­tives once the me­moran­dum had been eval­u­ated.

A copy of the me­moran­dum handed to TSAM ex­ec­u­tives by the pro­test­ers con­tains a list of de­mands, in­clud­ing that Toy­ota SA must stop ac­tively sup­port­ing and en­cour­ag­ing ex­tremely bad trad­ing prac­tices.

It said that through these trans­ac­tions, the in­dus­try was “coerced” and ma­nip­u­lated, with the ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion of Toy­ota SA and SA Taxi, to en­ter into un­af­ford­able trans­ac­tions that led to the demise of small busi­nesses and the de­struc­tion of thou­sands of hard work­ing South African fam­i­lies.

“Toy­ota must take re­spon­si­bil­ity for the non-vi­able taxi deals which end up de­stroy­ing the liveli­hood of taxi op­er­a­tions,” it said.

The me­moran­dum also de­manded that Toy­ota SA iden­tify and fi­nance 11 Toy­ota deal­er­ships to pur­chase a sig­nif­i­cant stake in 11 ded­i­cated taxi owned taxi cen­tre deal­er­ships that would be cre­ated coun­try­wide for the sale of ve­hi­cles to taxi op­er­a­tors.

One taxi cen­tre deal­er­ship would be estab­lished in each of the prov­inces, with the ex­cep­tion of KwaZulu-Natal and Gaut­eng which would have two deal­er­ships, with all 11 deal­er­ships owned by the taxi in­dus­try.

The me­moran­dum also de­manded that Toy­ota SA must with im­me­di­ate ef­fect con­trib­ute “a roy­alty of R10 000” a taxi ve­hi­cle sold to the in­dus­try to­gether with a retroac­tive pay­ment of an “orig­i­nal small roy­alty since ces­sa­tion to date” for var­i­ous pur­poses out­lined in the me­moran­dum.

It said Toy­ota must also par­tic­i­pate in the es­tab­lish­ment and de­vel­op­ment of taxi in­dus­try owned fi­nanc­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Minibus taxi op­er­a­tors block the en­trance to the Toy­ota man­u­fac­tur­ing plant dur­ing morn­ing rush hours in Dur­ban yes­ter­day.

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