Min­is­ters change, plan must re­main

Financial Mail - - YOU SAID... - Mafika Siphiwe Mgcina

The gov­ern­ment’s ap­proach to re­solv­ing the im­passe around pro­fes­sion­al­is­ing the taxi in­dus­try is not bear­ing fruit. The prob­lem is that ev­ery time there’s a new trans­port min­is­ter, a new plan is hatched.

The taxi re­cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion pro­gramme, launched in 2006, was sup­posed to en­tail the scrap­ping of old minibus taxis for new ones, to en­hance safety and ef­fi­ciency. Later, the re­vised taxi re­cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion pro­gramme was launched un­der then trans­port min­is­ter Blade Nz­i­mande. It in­cluded the aim of pro­fes­sion­al­is­ing the in­dus­try and se­cur­ing its en­tire value chain.

What’s over­looked is the dis­junc­ture be­tween taxi op­er­a­tors and driv­ers. While the driv­ers aren’t unionised, taxi op­er­a­tors are or­gan­ised in taxi as­so­ci­a­tions. The gov­ern­ment al­ways ne­go­ti­ates with the as­so­ci­a­tions, to the ex­clu­sion of the driv­ers who’re at the coal face of de­liv­ery.

If any pro­gramme is to work, it must fo­cus on de­fined time­lines and achiev­able tar­gets, not the per­son­al­i­ties or pro­grammes of par­tic­u­lar min­is­ters. Min­is­ters come and go, but the gov­ern­ment’s pro­gramme must con­tinue.

The cur­rent im­passe gives the gov­ern­ment a chance to en­gage with all stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing own­ers, driv­ers and com­muter as­so­ci­a­tions. We call upon the gov­ern­ment to seize the mo­ment and en­sure this multi­bil­lion-rand in­dus­try is trans­formed, com­mer­cialised and pro­fes­sion­alised so it can help pro­pel our eco­nomic growth.

ANC Sed­ibeng task team (writ­ing in his per­sonal ca­pac­ity)

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