New Minister commits to address taxi permit backlog

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Johannesburg – Newly appointed Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi on Tuesday assured taxi operators that government is going to address the taxi permit backlog.

The Minister was speaking during his visit at Wanderers taxi rank in the Johannesburg CBD.

“We have heard your concerns and as government, we are going to do everything in our power to address your concerns,” the Minister said.

Minister Maswanganyi said he was aware that the issue of permits is causing problems in the taxi industry.

The Minister -- accompanied by his deputy Sindisiwe Chikunga, the Gauteng MEC for Transport, Ismail Vadi and South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) President Philip Taaibosch -- called on the taxi industry to always ensure that they use roadworthy vehicles.

“As government, we are not going to tolerate unroadworthy vehicles on our roads,” he said.

The Minister and his delegation used the occasion to interact and listen to concerns raised by passengers and taxi operators. The visit forms part of the Department of Transport’s 2017 Easter Road Safety Campaign and it comes ahead of the Easter long weekend.

During this period, South Africans are expected to travel long distances to different destinations.

The aim of the visit was to drive road safety education, awareness and enforcement ahead of the long weekend.

Respect for commuters

Taxi commuters used the opportunity to voice their grievances over being harassed by taxi operators. The Minister said no form of abuse of passengers, especially towards women, will be tolerated.

“We will not allow women to be harassed by taxi operators. We want women to feel free. They should [also] feel free to wear what they want,” Minister Maswanganyi said.

Taaibosch appealed to taxi operators not to use unroadworthy vehicles, as they are a major cause of accidents.

“We expect you to follow the rules and respect other road users. Passengers must be respected,” he said.

He appealed to taxi owners to make time to listen to concerns raised by the drivers.

“You must listen to their concerns. They are not here to make money for you.”

Other concerns raised by taxi operators included corrupt traffic law enforcement officers, who want bribes. A major issue for drivers is also fatigue, as they are forced to work long hours. – SAnews.gov.za

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