The South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) has issued a warning informing stakeholders of a shutdown planned for January 18, 2023.
According to SANTACO provincial co-ordinator, Gabs Mtshala, a resolution was taken in a meeting attended by SANTACO affiliated taxi association held in East London on Tuesday, January 10.
“The decision has been taken due to the failure of the Provincial ANC Led Government that continues to victimize and exploit Scholar Transport Operators and further fail to honour resolutions taken when engaged on these issues,” said Mtshali.
He further noted the failure on the part of the provincial government to uphold their responsibility, which left many transport operators in financial ruin.
“We therefore demand the immediate payment of October, November and December invoices together with all other outstanding invoices of operators that have not been paid in 2022 for various reasons and delays. The Department of Transport must provide proof that they will be able to pay January, February and March 2023 invoices.”
Mtshali added that the organisation finds it senseless and uneconomically viable to operate on a negative financial balance caused by the negligent posture of the Department of Transport.
“We demand that we are provided with learners numbers, lists and names to be transported before we start transporting. The reason for this demand is that we have been transporting extra learners without being paid for so many years and this matter has never been resolved. The department is fully aware that they are paying for approximately 100 000 learners whilst we are transporting approximately 130 000 learners.”
Mtshali further added that the department announced that the number of learners paid for will further be reduced to 87 000.
"If they are able to disclose the number of learners to be transported, they must provide lists and names. It pains us to take such a decision, but we were left with no other option as the provincial government is not negotiating in good faith. We also wish to apologise to the commuters and public for such actions. We have tried to engage with the government, but in vain.”
Spokesperson for the Department of Transport, Unathi Binqose confirmed that there is still a couple of days before the schools re-open, and that they remain hopeful that they will be able to find an amicable solution that will see all stakeholders walk away satisfied.
“Among those differences is the issue of payments, we understand their frustration and are willing to pay those who have rendered services to the department, including those who are providing the scholar transport. We want to assure everyone that we are working around the clock to ensure that monies that are owed are paid,” said Binqose.