New, safer era for commuters dawns

Edward Maahlamela

Edward Maahlamela

The launch of new taxi vehicles in Limpopo has led to the scrapping of at least four unroadworthy commercial taxis in Mokopane at the weekend.

The operators of the scrapped vehicles were each paid R50000 as compensation for voluntarily "accepting" that their vehicles were a risk to the lives of commuters.

The scrapping was done in full view of members of the public at a packed Mahwelereng Stadium on Saturday.

Transport Minister Jeff Radebe told the crowd that more than 8000 new operating licences had been issued in Limpopo and 556 taxi operators had so far registered to scrap their old vehicles.

Radebe said the scrapping of old taxis in Limpopo should bring joy to all South Africans "and the unroadworthy taxis on our roads should be something of the past".

"Many years of dedication to the taxi recapitalisation programme are now paying off," said Radebe, who also launched new taxi vehicles approved by the South African Bureau of Standards.

"There's overwhelming support nationally for ensuring legal operations and more than 98000 applications for conversions have been processed," he said.

Lufu Madima, of the taxi scrapping project said: "As much as we need to remove all unroadworthy vehicles on our roads, it still remains the operators' right to volunteer to scrap their vehicles."

Jabulani Mthembu, president of the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco), advised operators who were still paying banks for their roadworthy "old" vehicles not to panic.

"We urge our members to be united so that financial institutions can agree to use the R50000 as a deposit for new vehicles," said Mthembu.