No taxi fare increases in the Western Cape
Media Release by Bonginkosi Madikizela, Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works
This morning in Khayelitsha I met with the representatives of the Western Cape South SA National Taxi Council (SANTACO) regarding the proposed taxi fare increase.
SANTACO Western Cape has taken a decision not to increase taxi fares.
I want to thank the representatives of SANTACO Western Cape for showing leadership and engaging us as government and for their cooperation during this difficult time.
SANTACO also agreed that they will not embark on a strike because they understand that the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works has demonstrated a constructive approach and is engaging them in good faith.
I really appreciate the stance they have taken. This does not mean that government should relax as there are a number of outstanding issues that must be addressed between us and the mini-bus taxi industry. One of these issues is the issuing of outstanding operating licences.
We will be meeting on the 3rd of July together with the local authorities to deal with the issue of operating licences.
The relief fund allocated to the taxi industry is not enough and was never meant to compensate for the loss of income. All industries are feeling the pinch caused by the lockdown. We believe there are more sustainable ways to deal with the loss of income affecting the taxi industry.
The Western Cape submitted proposals to the national Department of Transport to restructure a number of grants to compensate for loss of income. These grants cannot be spent because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But we believe that we can utilise these grants through initiatives like the Red Dot, a partnership between the Western Cape Government and the minibus taxi industry to deliver critical transport services as part of the fight against COVID-19.
The Red Dot system has transported more than 12 000 healthcare workers over 150 000km, servicing 15 healthcare facilities across the Cape Town Metro, including major COVID-19 treatment facilities such as Tygerberg and Groote Schuur Hospitals since its launch on 18 May.
The service also transports members of the public to quarantine and isolation facilities across the Western Cape to accommodate those with or at risk of having COVID-19 and who are unable to enter quarantine or isolation in their own homes. Since this component of the service commenced operations on 30 May, it has transported almost 1 100 passengers across the Province.
This service is delivered with a fleet of almost 200 dedicated minibuses, each fitted with a protective screening between the driver and passengers, a tracker to monitor performance and the recognisable Red Dot Taxi sticker.
This is one of the initiatives by the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works which confirms the seriousness with which we are taking the mini-bus taxi industry.
One of the reasons we are focusing on the mini-bus taxi industry is that this business is not formalised and can therefore not be subsidised by the government. Part of the engagements we have with the industry is to move with speed to formalise the industry so that they can be supported by government as they transport almost 50 percent of all public transport users.
I’m grateful to SANTACO for showing leadership and engaging government and putting the passengers first as the people most affected by the fee increase.
Photographs, video-clips and voice recordings are available on request.