TAXI drivers support the conversion of panel vans used as taxis to make them safer, but do not want to pay for the upgrades.
This is according to spokesperson of South Africa National Taxi Council Thabisho Molelekwa.
The government has said that the seats and seatbelt anchors of panel vans need to be strengthened to meet requirements.
Molelekwa said that taxi owners had not intended to buy unsafe taxis.
"But it will be irregular and unfair to expect taxi owners to pay these costs because they unwittingly bought unsafe taxis," he said.
Molelekwa said that the deadline for the upgrades was irrelevant to the owners, as they were worried about passenger safety.
Molelekwa said that the conversion would affect business as the taxis would be not operating while they are being upgraded.
Molelekwa said that the government should issue compliance certificates quickly after the car had been converted.
On Friday deputy minister of transport Jeremy Cronin gave taxi owners six months beginning on April 1 to October 1 to fix their vehicles.
He said that 2 353 panel vans had been illegally converted into passenger-carrying minibuses and their compliance with the new, enhanced safety standards was uncertain.
Cronin said that it would cost R18000 to convert a panel van into a minibus compliant with safety specifications.
He said that last year the department initiated an criminal investigation into illegally converted vans.
Cronin said that the investigation revealed that that certain dealers , manufacturers, importers and certain traffic department officials knowingly bypassed legal requirements and also changed documentation fraudulently.
Commentators have noted that the R18 000 will have to be carried by the banks or taxi financiers that financed the owners' vehicles.