KZN seeks delay in taxi scheme

2012-07-24 10:45

KwaZulu-Natal is to ask the national government to delay the taxi recapitilisation programme (TRP) in the province.

Transport spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said today this was agreed at a meeting between the provincial department and the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco).

“We decided that we needed to approach the national department of transport to consider the moratorium of implementing the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme (TRP), so that we can engage with taxi operators.”

The R7.7-billion TRP was first announced in 1999 and came into effect in October 2006 to replace the country’s minibus taxi fleet with more modern and safer vehicles.

In terms of the TRP, taxi owners were each to be paid R50?000 to have a vehicle scrapped.

The owner could then use this money to exit the industry or as a down payment on a newer, safer vehicle.

Currently, the amount paid in terms of the TRP is R63?100.

The TRP was supposed to be introduced in September last year in KwaZulu-Natal.

Ncalane said the department of transport would ask for an extension of six months to engage with taxi operators.

He dismissed taxi operators’ claims that government wanted to scrap all Siyaya taxis.

Siyaya minibus taxis, originally known as Hi-Aces, were built by Toyota South Africa until the end of 2007.

“When government compensates taxi operators they cannot use that money to buy a vehicle that was bought in 2006 and the years before,” Ncalane said.

“There are certain provisions in the National Transport Act that talk about compliance of vehicles to be deemed roadworthy.”

Ncalane said there was no need for taxi operators to stage a march tomorrow as the department was engaging with Santaco, which represented all taxi organisations.

However, some taxi bodies in the province did not recognise Santaco.

Yesterday, Big Boy Dladla, the secretary of the Top Six Taxi Alliance, said Santaco did not represent the interests of taxi operators because it was paid by the government.

“They are receiving an annual budget from government which runs into millions of rands. It’s difficult for that person to represent our interests,” he said.

Taxi operators will hold a meeting in Durban today.

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