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The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) yesterday released a statement to clear up their stance on the taxi recapitalisation programme, adding that 9082 operators had applied to have their taxis scrapped to date.
"Many statements have been made that Santaco, particularly in respect to recapitalisation, have acted as a puppet of government and we would like to clarify that this could not possibly be further from the truth," Santaco secretary- general Philip Taibosch said.
"Santaco has opposed the government most vigorously when it has needed to do so, and now that the recapitalisation programme meets with our members' requirements, we support this important initiative," he said.
He said the programme was not essentially aimed at benefiting taxi operators, but rather at securing passengers' safety and comfort.
"It is our view that if the operators . had an understanding of this, that they would strongly support any move aimed at improving their market for all taxi commuters," Taibosch said.
He said it was incorrect to view the vehicles that had been approved for use as taxis as "unreasonably priced".
Vehicles were available from R142000 upwards, with 16 and 18 seater taxis available from R160000 and R170000.
The taxi body said no changes would be made to the R50000 amount that taxi operators would receive in exchange for handing their older taxi's over to the government for scrapping.
Though Santaco supports recapitalisation, other bodies such as the National Taxi Association (NTA) have shown resistance.
NTA met Transport Minister Jeff Radebe last month to discuss holding off the programme "until it was affordable and realistic".
Taibosch said that those who continued to resist recapitalisation "do so for their own financial and political vested interests".