The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

THE TAXI in­dus­try is to have show­down dis­cus­sions to­day with Trans­port Min­is­ter Joe Maswan­ganyi and trans­port of­fi­cials that will de­ter­mine whether next week’s planned na­tional mass protest ac­tion tar­get­ing the gov­ern­ment goes ahead.

MP Fil­tane, a spokesper­son for the Mass Taxi In­dus­try Protest Ac­tion Com­mit­tee which or­gan­ised the block­ade at Toy­ota South Africa’s man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in Prospec­ton, Dur­ban, in May, and last month’s protests in Jo­han­nes­burg and Midrand, con­firmed yes­ter­day that the in­dus­try had a list of is­sues that they wanted to be raised with Maswan­ganyi.

Fil­tane said the meet­ing was re­quested by the taxi in­dus­try. He said al­though he would not be present, the meet­ing would high­light is­sues such as taxi op­er­at­ing li­cences and con­fu­sion about who ob­tained op­er­at­ing li­cences; trans­port sub­si­dies that ex­cluded the in­dus­try; and the way sta­te­owned lend­ing in­sti­tu­tions ig­nored it.

Na­tional trans­port de­part­ment spokesper­son Ish­mael Mnisi con­firmed the meet­ing, say­ing it would be held to­day af­ter an in­dus­try re­quest to dis­cuss a num­ber of is­sues.

The Mass Taxi In­dus­try Protest Ac­tion Com­mit­tee has a list of more than 30 en­ti­ties it pre­vi­ously in­di­cated it planned to tar­get in its on­go­ing rolling protest ac­tion, in­clud­ing ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers, banks, in­sur­ance and fuel com­pa­nies and gov­ern­ment en­ti­ties.

Their griev­ances in­clude ve­hi­cle pric­ing, taxi fi­nanc­ing and de­mands for rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion.

Fil­tane con­firmed that de­pend­ing on the response from the gov­ern­ment, the strike would not go ahead but stressed the strike ac­tion was a process.

“It (the gov­ern­ment’s response) is un­likely to stop it, but it de­pends on the the re­sponses.

“If the gov­ern­ment re­sponds pos­i­tively, it may not be tar­geted. Some (en­ti­ties) have re­sponded proac­tively be­fore we get on to the streets. We got some­thing from SA Taxi, even if it was not ex­actly what we wanted. Dis­cus­sions with Toy­ota are con­tin­u­ing. raised and di­rect them to the ap­pro­pri­ate au­thor­i­ties,” he said.

Mnisi be­lieved that the taxi in­dus­try may raise the is­sue of taxi sub­si­dies in the meet­ing, be­cause it was among the is­sues con­tin­u­ally raised by the in­dus­try. He re­ferred to Maswan­ganyi’s trans­port bud­get vote speech in May in which the min­is­ter spoke about the re­newal of the trans­port sub­sidy pol­icy.

Maswan­ganyi said then his de­part­ment was fi­nal­is­ing the much awaited Public Trans­port Sub­sidy Pol­icy, which would fo­cus more on sub­si­dis­ing the user than the op­er­a­tors, ir­re­spec­tive of the mode used.

“It is to­tally un­ac­cept­able that other modes, no­tably taxis, are not in­cluded in the sub­sidy regime. This is de­spite the re­sult of the 2013 Na­tional House­hold Travel Sur­vey, that in­di­cated that the taxi mode is the most pre­ferred by the ma­jor­ity of trans­port users, ac­count­ing for more than 68 per­cent of the daily com­mut­ing public.

“To this ex­tent, I will be meet­ing the taxi in­dus­try, the rail sec­tor and bus op­er­a­tors to dis­cuss the trans­port sub­sidy pol­icy,” he said.

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