Taximen in talks with state over recap plan

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

There's a light at the end of the tunnel for the national department of Transport and the KwaZulu-Natal Transport Alliance after yesterday's meeting.

Both parties agreed that the taxi industry would put in writing as a matter of urgency all outstanding issues it wanted addressed by government.

This was the first meeting since the ruling by Durban High Court Judge Noel Hurt last month, where he set aside next year's deadline for the taxi recap programme.

Hurt ruled that Transport minister Jeff Radebe had failed to consult all stakeholders about the deadline for the conversion of current taxi permits into operating licences.

Transport department spokesman Maishe Bopape said following the judgment, the department will conduct an audit of all applications that had been received by the government.

"We will look at how many were approved and issued for each province, how many were declined and why they were not approved.

"We will also look at what has been done since those applications had been turned down as some operators claim that they had applied a long time ago.

"We will also look at the issues of widows within the industry who find it difficult to take over from their husbands and see why they cannot continue operating like their husbands did," promised Bopape.

The Alliance, through its provincial chairman, Eugene Hadebe said they would like to meet with the minister's advisors because "they are the ones who have caused all the court battles that the two parties went through".

"We believe the minister was misinformed hence our decision to go to court, but we want to say that we don't want these things to happen in the future," said Hadebe.

He also said they wanted law enforcement officers, through operations like Shanela, to stop "harassing them".

The meeting ended with both parties agreeing that the Alliance would put down in writing, as a matter of urgency, the issues they wanted the department to address.