KZN braces for taxi protests
TAXI PROTEST PLANNED: Taxi operators are set to protest the department of transport's permit issuing system. Commuters in Pietermaritzburg are warned to make alternative travel arrangements on July 24.
Durban - kwaZulu-Natal taxi operators are preparing to hold a mass meeting in Durban before marching on the provincial legislature on July 25.
KZN Transport Alliance chairman Eugene Hadebe said drivers were fed-up with the department of transport's system of issuing permits for routes and accused officials of being unable to manage the permit system adding: "We don't want the permits."
TAXI SCRAPPING SCHEME
Big Boy Dladla, secretary of the Top Six Taxi Alliance, said operators were also dissatisfied with the government's taxi recapitalisation programme and legislation which would make it impossible to sell a taxi older than six years to another taxi operator.
"If you have a taxi that was bought before 2006." he asserted, "you cannot sell it to someone else as the buyer cannot get a [taxi operating] licence for it."
Taximen were not interested in taking advantage of the TRP.
The R7.7-billion TRP was announced in 1999 and came into effect in October 2006 in an attempt to replace the country's minibus taxi fleet with modern, safer, vehicles. Taxi owners were paid R50 000 to have a vehicle scrapped and the money used to either leave the business or help pay for a new vehicle. Today the payable amount is R63 100 but Dladla said that wasn't enough, considering the price of a new vehicle.
"We don't like it," he said. "Why should we be forced to destroy our vehicles? A [Toyota] Quantum costs about R300 000 as opposed to a [Toyota] Siyaya for which we have paid R120 000."
The Siyaya, originally known as the Hiace, was assembled by Toyota SA until the end of 2007.
Dladla said that if the Siyaya minibuses were taken off the roads many drivers would lose their job and the industry would not be able to provide sufficient transport.
Hadebe said taxi operators would meet on Tuesday (July 24) at Durban's Curries Fountain stadium. On Wednesday the taxi operators would march on the provincial legislature.
Comment could not be obtained from national or provincial transport departments.
Under the TRP, 48 000 taxis have been scrapped since 2006. About 5000 were from KZN.