Taxi unions welcome government financial relief aid plans


The National Taxi Alliance (NTA) and SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) have welcomed proposed financial support by the government to the taxi industry during the lockdown.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said he would outline his plans next week on how the government would financially support the industry during the lockdown.

NTA spokesperson Theo Malele said the taxi industry had been ostracised for some time.

"It is about time that the majority public transport mover is being taken into confidence and we do welcome that. Ever since the lockdown was implemented, the taxi industry has played a pivotal role in moving people who are doing essential [work], and we still are carrying on with this service and yet we are not actually making a profit.

"The future of our business also depends on the livelihood of society. It then became important to us to partner with government and ensure people can move from point A to B without a problem. We have been in the forefront of disinfecting vehicles and sanitising passengers," added Malele.

'Working at a loss'

He said the senior leadership was looking at the modalities of how best the taxi industry could be financed.

"The industry is actually working at a very serious loss. The industry plays a pivotal role in the economy of the country and therefore government can't abdicate its responsibilities forever and not support the taxi industry.

"It is about time that the industry and government look at ways and means of ensuring passengers enjoy using our mode of transport through government support on a daily basis," added Malele.

Santaco Gauteng chairperson Buti Mkhonza said the council had requested coronavirus financial relief from the government, adding it welcomed its commitment to assist the taxi industry.

"Government and our national leadership are working on the modalities on how much an operator will be paid according to their permits. We are very happy that Mbalula has confirmed that in a week's time he will come to us and explain how they will assist us.

"We also welcome government help to formalise the industry. We lost few billions during lockdown. Our members have suffered a lot and we are feeling it now.

"We are ensuring that we are obeying regulations and our drivers are enforcing all regulations. We are happy with the assistance from government," said Mkhonza.

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