Siyaya: Ramaphosa promises improved public transport system

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised an overhaul of the public transport system.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised an overhaul of the public transport system.
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa says the government will take steps to improve the country's public transport system. 
  • This includes holding a lekgotla with the taxi industry, in particular.
  • Ramaphosa says improving transport infrastructure is central to economic growth and expanding industrial activity.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday that the government was convening a National Taxi Lekgotla to chart the course towards a more efficient sector.

This platform brings together the government, civil society and industry stakeholders and comes on the back of provincial makgotla in most provinces, Ramaphosa said in his weekly newsletter

The lekgotla will seek common ground on existing business models, safety and compliance, broader economic empowerment of operators and the issue of subsidies for taxis. It will also look at how to end the conflict and violence that plagues the industry because of route competition.

Ramaphosa said:

As part of the programme to build a new economy, we are working with all stakeholders to improve the state of public transport. This is necessary if we are to expand manufacturing, increase local production, stimulate small business activity and create more job opportunities.

Improving transport infrastructure is essential

"A well-functioning transport system has the additional benefit of alleviating road congestion and reducing travel times, energy consumption and air pollution. That is why we are going to invest in transport infrastructure systems that will carry people safely and in a manner that will contribute to economic growth.  

"The Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan I announced earlier this month acknowledges that improving transport infrastructure is central to economic growth and expanding industrial activity. As part of our plan, we have embarked on projects to modernise and refurbish commuter rail networks alongside the expansion of road rehabilitation and maintenance programmes. 

READ | Getting SA moving: Govt to plough more investment into public transport

"Upgraded transportation infrastructure coupled with improved public transport is a key driver of economic activity. Similarly, resolving the challenges facing a sector as important as the taxi industry is an important step towards transforming the public transport landscape," he added.

Ramaphosa noted that around two thirds of households that use minibus taxis. A quarter travel by bus and 10% by train.

But, he said, public transport continues to be plagued by challenges; some are the legacy of apartheid development, but many are contemporary and persistent.

Many people's experiences are negative

"Many of our people's experiences with public transport are not positive. Those reliant on trains have to contend with daily delays, disruptions and prolonged closures of essential lines.

"Furthermore, rail infrastructure in most cities only covers older parts of cities and has not kept up with new city development. Unroadworthy vehicles, unsafe driving, speeding, overloading and other practices are persistent problems in the taxi industry. Many people fall victim to crime on trains, taxis and buses."

Ramaphosa said public transport was expensive. More than two thirds of households with the lowest income spend more than 20% of their monthly household income on public transport.

READ | Treasury, Gautrain planned rail expansion to link Soweto and Johannesburg

"Since taxis are the primary means of public transit for people across all provinces, we are giving urgent attention to the problems in the industry.

"A formalised, well-managed, better regulated minibus taxi system is in the best interests of not just those who use taxis daily. It is also in the interest of the development and progress of the entire society," Ramaphosa said. 

Read Ramaphosa's full newsletter here.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
Should Proteas star Quinton de Kock continue playing at the T20 World Cup even if he doesn't take the knee in support of the fight against racism?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes! He should be allowed to show his support any way he chooses
39% - 2040 votes
No! If De Kock refuses to unite with his teammates, then he should be on the next plane home
12% - 631 votes
The only ones at fault here are Cricket SA, who have sabotaged another Proteas World Cup
49% - 2612 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.