Now taxis can operate in the Kruger Park

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

The Kruger National Park management committee has reached an agreement with the Mkhuhlu Taxi Association (MTA) to ferry local passengers into the park.

The park's head of public relations, William Mabasa, yesterday said taxis from the MTA would be allowed to bring people from the Hazyview-Mkhuhlu area into the park.

He said they could also transport them on game drives when they were not taking them to and from work.

"We have agreed to form a liaison committee with the MTA that will look closer at the issues," Mabasa said.

He said the liaison committee would consist of an equal number of representatives from both the park and MTA.

"This agreement will cement our relationship with the MTA, which started when we granted them permission to transport park staff to and from work," Mabasa said.

"We have realised that members of previously disadvantaged communities who literally live a stone's-throw away from the park have never been into the park, simply because they don't have transport.

MTA chairman Peer Mkhonto said: "We are ready to take these people into the park."

Park officials raised other concerns that included the non-availability of taxis on certain routes and the fact that some taxi drivers often broke the rules and regulations of the park.

"We agreed with the MTA executive that there should be a mechanism that will help us address these concerns," Mabasa said.

"We often get complaints from the public that taxi drivers were littering, playing loud music or speeding in the park.

"We obviously don't condone such behaviour. For more serious breaches of the park's rules and regulations we might take away a taxi's permit to enter the park. A driver might get a fine for less serious offences."

The parties also agreed that a monthly list of taxi drivers who failed to adhere to the park's rules and regulations would be given to the MTA management committee to discipline their members according to their own disciplinary procedures.