Locals say no to taxi cards

2016-06-17 12:45
Pietermaritzburg’s minibus taxis will not be using the smartcard system anytime soon.

Pietermaritzburg’s minibus taxis will not be using the smartcard system anytime soon. (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - Taxi operators and drivers in Pietermaritzburg have ditched the piloting of tha pilot taxi smartcard payment system, which the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) was rolling out in a pilot in the city.

Santaco regional chairperson Bonga Zondi said the smartcard system had met with objections from taxi operators and drivers.

“They complained that the system was not working for them. Therefore we decided to stop it,” Zondi said. Zondi.

Bonga Zondi of SANTACO in the province told The Witness that the decision to halt the project in Pietermaritzburg was due to taxi operators and drivers contesting against the system.

The smartcard system had been rolled out to minibus taxis operating underfrom the Grand Westgate Taxi Association, which operates about 113 taxis in the city, in March this year.

The system came to an abrupt stoppage in April after a string ofviolent protests.

Media reports at the time claimed there were concerns about taxi conductors losing their jobs, that there were technical glitches that sometimes resulted in taxis being forced to let commuters ride for free, while some taxi operators said they did not know how to operate the smartcard swiping machines.

Zondi said the system would have brought a significantand expedient results to the taxi industry in the province.

HoweverHe said there was, however, massivegood interest in Gauteng.

Now mMany taxi associations in Gauteng have showed a lot of interest to try smartcard systems.

“Perhaps when they [KZN] see it works in other provinces, and after seeing the benefits, they will be keen to welcome it back,” said Zondi.

He has admitted thatsaid the system would have brought transparency into the revenues of taxi operators, but But he vehementlydenied speculation that suggesting that taxi operators were escaping the tax system due to a lack of transparency in their revenue collection and tax related issues.

He said taxi operators were also taxpayers.

“Every operator needs to produce a tax clearance as a prerequisite to acquire a permit,” he said.

Chairperson ofGrand Westgate Taxi Association chairpersontold The Witness recently that there were other opinions involved that needed to be ironed off before the system could resume. Nkomo said Nhlanhla Nkomo said the smartcard system would be beneficial to both operators and drivers.

“Money would no longer come to us as cash, but would be directly transferred to our accounts.

“The operators will not struggle when they want to purchase a new taxi, because of an insufficient credit record,” Nkomo said.

“Sometimes when money comes to us as cash, it ends up not even going to the bank.

“Our drivers aswouldas well be able to open bank accounts and receive their earnings through the bank,” said Nkomo.

Zondi strongly urged taxi operators, who enjoy the perks of their businesses’ income, but fail to return tax, to take SARS seriously or face the consequences.

One taxi operator, who asked not be named, said that This has emerged in the corporation meeting where a taxi operator coughed out about the calamity of losing his millions to SARS. The taxi operator, who asked not to be named, has said thathe recently had to pay about R3,5 million to SARS in outstanding tax returns.

Zondi said taxi operators were like any other business people, and were liable to file tax returns.

He urged taxi owners in the province to take SARS “very seriously”.

“We encourage our members to be good citizens and faithful to our country.

“They should understand the importance of paying tax. And also know that there are consequences to non-compliance,” said Zondi.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  taxi

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