Taxi operators march at Union Buildings

THE National Taxi Alliance has labelled the South African National Taxi Council "cowards who claim to be representing taxi operators while agreeing to all the government's impositions on operators".

Addressing thousands of taxi operators at the Union Buildings in Pretoria yesterday, NTA general secretary Alpheus Mlalazi said the council (Santaco) did not represent all operators.

"So it is wrong for them to say the taxi industry supports the Bus Rapid Transit system," Mlalazi said.

Thousands of commuters were yesterday left stranded as a result of the action.

The handing over of the memorandum was delayed as the marchers' leadership battled to stop stick-wielding demonstrators from barging in at Union Buildings gates.

The NTA complained about its exclusion from taking part in the ferrying of soccer fans to stadiums during the World Cup, impounding of taxis for permit-related issues, the taxi recapitalisation programme and the lack of a state subsidy in the taxi industry.

The organisation accuses Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele of supporting certain taxi and bus operators to deliberately exclude "us to our detriment and prejudice" when it comes to World Cup business opportunities.

NTA chairperson Francis Masitsa said they were also frustrated by inconsistencies in the operating licence applications.

"When we apply for operating licences we indicate that the application is for indefinite licences but when the licences are issued they reflect that they are for a period of five years," he said.

"We propose that this definite period be reviewed since it creates an unnecessary administrative nightmare for both the department and operators."