The taxi industry remains divided on the three-year-old Taxi Recapitalisation programme to transform the nation's informal public transport system.
The National Taxi Alliance (NTA), which opposed the programme from its inception, insists that the government's initiative has failed. But the South African National Taxi Council, which welcomed the plan, says the industry has benefitted despite the problems.
Transport department spokesperson Sam Monareng said yesterday that more than 22000 unroadworthy minibus taxis had been scrapped at a cost of R1,123billion between October 2006 and March this year.
"We are optimistic that the programme will succeed and will be completed, though we had to extend the deadline to allow more people to bring in their taxis," Monareng said.
He said R198,250million had been spent on the programme in the Eastern Cape, R181,9million in Limpopo, R170million in Gauteng, R166,6million in North West, R120,5million in Free State, R119,8million in KwaZulu-Natal, R97,6million in Mpumalanga, R51,75million in Western Cape and R18,6million in Northern Cape.
Alpheus Mlalazi of NTA said his group had maintained that the recapitalisation programme would not work.
"The government allocated funds but these have dried up. Vehicles are expensive," he said.
Philip Taaibosch of Santaco said the programme was working despite the problems.
"The government gave us a R50000 scrapping allowance, but we asked them to align the fee with the inflation rate and we are now getting R64300 for each scrapped taxi.
"We feel let down by the government because the taxi industry does not receive a subsidy. We consider this as discrimination."
Monareng said R630million has been allocated to the programme for this financial year.