The taxi industry is under threat and needs to unite or its businesses will fail, the SA National Taxi Council said yesterday.
"Our business is under siege. It is participative strategy planning that we believe is critical in the survival of our business," Santaco general-secretary Philip Taaibosch, pictured, told the SA Local and Long Distance Taxi and Bus Organisation (Salldtbo) conference in Pretoria.
Taaibosch said the resuscitation of Salldtbo showed great promise in addressing the threat to the industry by, among others, the "monster" National Land Transport Bill, and the Bus Rapid Transport system (BRT).
"Government, through its plans, through its agencies, is planning to take the taxi industry away from us," Taaibosch said.
He questioned the government's rationality that the people wanted the BRT, and asked the gathering of hundreds if they wanted it and was met with a resounding "no".
Salldtbo spokesman Thabisho Molelekwa said the government was wrong in proposing such legislation - and especially without engagement with the industry that would be most negatively affected.
"It is extremely wrong to allow laws created by the government to close businesses," Molelekwa said.
He said the taxi industry had a long and rich history not only as a business, but also for its role in politics.
He said the industry was not against transformation. However, it needed to be constructive through collaboration with its key roleplayers.
He said the bill would dictate the operations of taxi transportation and that the change from permits to licences would mean that each taxi operator had a lifespan.
"There is no [business] security," he said, adding that operators would be reluctant to invest in their business if they thought their licences might expire or not be renewed by the government. - Sapa