A Mpumalanga man who waited for nearly a year without earning an income because his minibus taxi had been scrapped by the state has finally been paid the R50000 scrapping fee.
Nicolas Magagula of Ermelo called Sowetan last month complaining that his move to heed the government's call to bring his skorokoro minibus taxi to be scrapped for a fee had turned his life into a nightmare.
Magagula, 60, was yesterday singing the praises of Sowetan for publishing his plight.
"Thank you so much. I have finally been paid after your intervention. Though I now have many debts, I am relieved that the state has at long last kept its promise."
Magagula took his registered unroadworthy minibus taxi to be scrapped.
The recapitalisation programme is aimed at making the country's roads safer by replacing ageing taxis with new, reliable vehicles.
The campaign, spearheaded by the Department of Transport, started two years ago.
David Nkambule, spokesman for the provincial department, said Magagula's matter was referred to the Taxi Scrapping Agency which is contracted to deal with taxi scrapping.
"They made an undertaking that Magagula's matter would be finalised by the end of last week, and we are glad it has been resolved," said Nkambule.
Elvis Mazibuko, a representative of the agency, could not say why there was a delay in the payment of Magagula. "Send me all your questions via email please," said Mazibuko, whose phone was off when we tried to get hold of him later yesterday.
Magagula took his minibus taxi for scrapping in White River in April last year after being told that he qualified for the once-off allowance of R50000.
Magagula said officials had told him that he would be paid within one month, but this never happened. "I complained and they said there was outstanding information," said Magagula.
"After providing the information required, I expected to get the money in a few days' time. But nine months later I had still not been paid, and my taxi was all I had to earn a living," he said.
More than 320 unroadworthy taxis have been scrapped in Mpumalanga so far.