Festive blow for taximen

HOME-BOUND: Passengers travel  by taxi to Mpumalanga for their holidays. Photo: Antonio Muchave
HOME-BOUND: Passengers travel by taxi to Mpumalanga for their holidays. Photo: Antonio Muchave

FRUSTRATIONS continue as thousands of taxi operators in Gauteng expect to lose thousands of rands because they will be unable to transport commuters this festive season.

The long and short distance taxi owners cannot travel outside the province because the Department of Roads and Transport is unable to issue operational licences on time.

Taxis operating without licences get impounded and owners are fined heavily.

About 35,000 taxis in Gauteng have not received operational licences.

Jafta Ndlovu of the Benoni Taxi Association says the department's slowness in issuing the licences is affecting them.

"We are losing money daily because if you are forced to do inter-city trips your vehicle gets impounded."

The process of issuing new licences started last year and according to taxi operators it has been happening at a snail's pace.

Roads and Transport Department spokeswoman Octavia Mamabolo says so far about 27,363 permits had been issued.

She promises that the process will be completed by December 2016.

Mamabolo says they had received a total 62558 applications and are continuing to receive more.

"About 7,055 permits are still waiting to be collected by operators," she says.

Taxi owners were given temporary permits while applications were being processed, but these have since expired.

Mamabolo says the one-year permits or written permits were discontinued because they ended up being generated illegally.

Bara City Taxi Association secretary Thami Buthelezi says another issue is the process called Replacement Transaction, in terms of which they transfer an existing licence from an old car to a new one.

He says the process is taking unnecessarily long.

But Mamabolo says the process takes three days and the turnaround strategy has been endorsed by the taxi industry.