Government is calling on financialinstitutions to “give taxi operators a better deal”, says Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi.
He notes that the minibus taxi industry is correct in saying it is being exploited when buying new vehicles.
Taxi operators have been threatening to again block off major highways in Gauteng, as they did in June, in protest against finance deals which could demand an up to 28% interest rate.
Maswanganyi says this rate means it is cheaper to buy a Mercedes-Benz E-Class than a R400 000-plus taxi.
“When the taxi is finally paid off, it is dead. It means operators are perpetually indebted. Why not give operators prime, or fleet buyers prime-minus rates?”
No Government Subsidy
Maswanganyi says minibus taxi operators transport 68% of commuters in South Africa, while receiving no government subsidy.
The industry generates R120-billion in fares a year, while also spending R39-billion on fuel, R7-billion on new vehicles and R2.4-billion on insurance.
Mwaswanganyi says government is looking at introducing subsidies for the taxi industry.
He says government will also meet with the minibus taxi industry to discuss the continuation of the taxi recapitalisation (recap) programme.
The programme, implemented in the late 1990s, assists taxi operators in buying new, safer, legal vehicles through the provision of a scrapping allowance for their old vehicles.
Maswanganyi says the taxi recap programme is scheduled to come to an end next year.
“We are meeting with the leadership of the taxi industry to discuss renewing the programme.”
Mwaswanganyi avers that the football industry and the minibus taxi industry are the only industries that “have always empowered black people in South Africa” and deserve government’s support.