Transforming the taxi industry
DURING his budget speech MEC for Transport in KZN Mxolisi Kaunda was proud to announce progress in consolidating peace and stability in the taxi industry.
Addressing the issue that saw several protests at taxi ranks last year, he said the department had agreed to lift the moratorium on the issuance of new operating licences and working with the industry through the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco).
He warned this did not mean a free-for-all, but the process still required “working to resolve long-standing issues around licenses, to finally arrive at a point where every taxi on the road is operating legally”.
He said the department has also partnered with Santaco to provide training to leadership at regions and associations.
This includes participation in the training of 160 women who are taxi operators.
He said a further 218 taxi operators will benefit from this training and development in the new financial year.
Kaunda said Transport’s partnership with Santaco through the council’s Hlokomela campaign, aims to promote good customer service and taxi driver behaviour.
“We believe strongly that the taxi industry should grow, and this entails operators participating across the value chain.
“Beyond operating minibus taxis, operators should be involved in areas including vehicle warehousing, distribution, sales and maintenance.
“In their own right, they should become manufacturers of parts such as tyres, electronic management systems, scrapping administration agents, produce diesel, as well as access other opportunities in the value chain.
Kaunda warned the taxi operators should not be caught napping while ride-hailing apps like Uber are changing how people access hired transport.
He said the taxi industry should seek to advance in technology to keep up with the digital revolution, as evidenced by the disruption caused by already global services such as ride hailing applications.
In this regard, he said the transport department is working nationally to ensure that SA’s laws “appropriately respond to these new services by ensuring that fair competition and adherence to operating regulations”.
KZN’s transport and the SA National Taxi Council hopes to see less of this type of lawless parking by taxi drivers in the province.