Metered taxis: ‘Dept denying us permits’

2014-08-27 00:00

PIRATE metered taxi operators have came out guns blazing against accusations that they are ruining the industry and have little respect for customers.

“We survive on this job. We feed our children and look after our families with this job, so how can we ruin it by attacking and robbing passengers?” asked Bhekaphi Mpanza.

Several operators from the Sxaxambiji union representing pirate metered taxis descended on The Witness offices yesterday, following a report on Monday detailing complaints against illegal operators.

Mpanza conceded some of the drivers were registered as taxi operators but are not allowed to do business in town, while others were not registered at all.

He said this, however, did not mean they were anarchists that stole customers, and attacked and robbed passengers.

“One of the problems we are facing is that we are being denied permits. The Department of Transport says there are no more permits, yet we find new taxis joining legally regularly,” he said, adding that he had been in the industry for more than eight years.

Mpanza said it was not true they were stealing passengers from legal operators because passengers chose them because of their cheaper rates and because they would travel where the legal taxis would not go.

“We cannot be accused of stealing passengers because our customers call us directly, whereas the customers of the legal operators have to call a call centre and then a taxi is dispatched to wherever the customer is.”

Mpanza said they too were facing problems with the influx of other illegal operators.

“Often these people park in areas like taverns, where passengers are more vulnerable. The person will be drunk and they will simply get into the taxi without checking, and that is when people get injured or attacked.

“Those people who use their cars as taxis at night have ruined our name in the public’s eyes,” he said.

Thobeka Mafumbatha of the Msunduzi Municipality said many operators have licences but do not comply with their licence conditions.

The police said there had been no reports of customers attacked in metered taxis.

warning signs

Mpanza said there were several tell-tale signs that customers should be aware of in the metered taxi industry.

Customers should avoid getting ­into any taxi that has two men. “Metered taxis do not have conductors; there should be a driver and a passenger only.”

Know the number plate, demand the driver’s business card or a phone number and make sure it works.

“… If you ask a driver for a price or an area and he does not give a straight answer, he does not work regularly, so avoid that taxi,” he said.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.