- Transport department is negotiating with banks to prevent the repossession of minibus taxis.
- Taxi associations have complained about loss of income after being forced to carry 70% of their load when lockdown began in March.
- Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said banks have been responsive to their proposals.
The Department of Transport is negotiating with banks on behalf of the taxi industry to prevent the repossession of minibus taxis.
Many taxi associations have complained about serious financial challenges after losing profit as they were forced to carry 70% of their loads when the lockdown began in March until 12 July.
On Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that only local taxis are permitted to carry full load of passenger, while long-distance taxis will continue operating with the 70% loading capacity.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula told the nation on Thursday that they were engaging with banks on behalf of the taxi industry.
"Banks have been responsive to our proposals. We are not a trade union to the banks. We have also held productive engagements with the Banking Association of South Africa on further relief measures they can extend to the taxi industry.
"We are happy to indicate that the banks have been responsive to our proposals to provide appropriate financial relief. Individual banks have their own procedures and measures in place and will make appropriate pronouncements in this regard," said Mbalula.
He said various banking institutions had offered repayment holidays and re-determination of the terms of agreements with individual borrowers.
"Banks will also in due course communicate their decisions to the borrowers and the public in this regard on their Covid-19-related relief measures. Over the last few weeks, we have been engaging in intense discussions with the taxi industry on the divesting impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the significant losses the industry continues to incur.
"We engaged with the taxi industry leadership in good faith and we found each other on many areas, but there are areas where we differed. However, the door remains open for further engagements on issues where we are not in agreement," said Mbalula.
Meanwhile, all taxi operators should ensure that public transport vehicles were sanitised before picking up and after dropping off passengers.
"All public transport vehicles windows must be kept 5cm open on both sides. All public transport vehicles must be fitted with window jammers or blockers in order to keep the windows 5cm open.
"Operators must ensure that all public transport vehicle doors, window handles, arm rests and hand-rails are sanitised after every load. Passengers must be encouraged to sanitise after they enter the vehicle and after getting off the vehicle," said Mbalula.