MOST of the taxis on KwaZulu-Natal’s roads are not legal.As the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) has announced they will stop issuing taxi permits in KZN, alarming figures have emerged, revealing that 20 000 of 35 000 minibus taxis on the province’s roads are not certified to operate. The largest taxi regulator in the country said it decided to halt new taxi operation permits due to the bloated state of the KZN taxi industry. The council said although the industry is filled to capacity, all pending applications submitted before this decision was made, would still be issued.Santaco spokesperson Mandla Mzelemu said the decision was part of the plan to reduce the number of road accidents caused by mini-bus taxis that are not roadworthy. He also said they aim to address the taxi violence that persists in some parts of KZN because of tensions between legal and illegal operators.In 2007 the council took the decision with the Department of Transport to stop issuing permits. “But later, we negotiated with the department to lift the moratorium because many minibus taxis were operating without permits.“This was actually putting the lives of commuters at risk,” said Mzelemu.Mzelemu told The Witness that the taxi council is aiming to maintain order and control within the industry.He said the only way to do so was through limiting the powers of local taxi associations that were recruiting people into the industry.“We urge people to stop purchasing vehicles [minibus taxis] without operating permits. “That puts the lives of commuters in danger.” Mzelemu said the council was aware some operators would be defiant on the issue.“But if anything, like an accident, happens with commuters aboard that vehicle, government will not compensate anyone affected.“We want to ensure all vehicles we have on the road have permits and are safe for commuters. Any vehicles which are not roadworthy will be taken off the road.”He warned retirees against investing their pension into a taxi business. “What we are saying is, if you are currently planning to take your package from where you work to start a taxi business, there is no more space for you,” said Mzelemu. Department of Transport spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said the department agrees with the taxi regulator that they need to reduce traffic in the taxi industry.Ncalane said the other reason was due to the the industry being over-saturated and over-traded, which would mean operators could end up not making any profits.