SA National Civic Organisation questions fully loaded taxis, fee hikes

21 July 2020 - 11:50
By Nomahlubi Jordaan
The SA National Taxi Association said operators and drivers were not making an income when they were allowed to load to only 70% capacity.
Image: SIPHIWE SIBEKO The SA National Taxi Association said operators and drivers were not making an income when they were allowed to load to only 70% capacity.

The SA National Taxi Association (Santaco) has defended the revised lockdown regulations allowing taxi operators to load at 100% capacity.

This comes after the SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) criticised the government’s decision to allow fully loaded taxis for local trips. Sanco told eNCA the decision put commuters’ lives at risk. Sanco also questioned the affordability of fare increases. 

Sanco Gauteng chairperson Abraham Mashishi said: "If the taxi industry is angry with the government, let them not take their anger to commuters because the poor commuters are the working class."

Santaco has a different view.

“Anybody who has issues with the regulations can constitutionally approach the authorities and contest the regulations, but contestation should not be on the basis of perception,” said Santaco spokesperson Thabisho Molelekwa.

“The government has explored all avenues to balance the scientific evidence and economic challenges. There is a lot of effort invested in the decision. Anybody is at liberty to express their views,” Molelekwa said.

On the issue of increased taxi fares, Molelekwa said the decision was not based on the lockdown.

“What must be understood is that the increases are not related to Covid-19, us not getting the relief we want, or us trying to frustrate government.

“Every year we increase fares, and this is such a moment. It’s regrettable that it coincides with the pandemic.

“The fare increases came at a time when the industry was bleeding under the lockdown. About 15% of the taxi fleet was working, and the rest were staying at home,” Molelekwa said.

He said at 70% capacity, taxi operators and drivers were not making an income.

“This increase came at a time when the industry desperately wanted it. It is our view that the increases have been nominal but we urge commuters who feel they are steep to engage.”

Molelekwa said after complaints from commuters about the fare increases, Santaco conducted a survey. The majority of commuters surveyed said the fare increases were too high.

“We are giving the survey to Santaco in Gauteng to see if they can’t review the increase,” Molelekwa said.