Government should have stuck to taxi recapitalisation programme

28 June 2016 - 16:42 By Bongani Nkosi

Had the government continued its taxi recapitalisation programme‚ which saw thousands of taxis declared not roadworthy and scrapped‚ dangerous converted panel vans would not be on the road now. Philip Taaibosch‚ president of South African National Taxi Council (Santaco)‚ has told public hearings organised by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela at her offices in Hillcrest‚ Pretoria‚ the government has failed the taxi industry. Taaibosch favours a programme that would see the panel vans converted to commuter taxis scrapped and owners compensated. He argues the operators were tricked into buying the converted panel vans. Most of these are Toyota Quantums.“One thing I believe government has failed us [on] is to stick to its principles as far as its promise to the taxi industry on the taxi recapitalisation programme‚” said Taaibosch.“We believe if government had kept its word on the taxi recapitalisation programme‚ we wouldn’t be sitting with this problem.”Taaibosch said talks were currently afoot with Transport Minister Dipuo Peters to introduce a new scrapping scheme. “We're waiting for the minister to call us‚ but this thing is urgent. It has to happen.”He asked Madonsela to make a similar recommendation in her report too.“Maybe if a similar recommendation could come from your office of how to remedy this situation without the end user [taxi owners] being the loser at the end of the day.“For me‚ the taxi operator bought this thing knowing that it is a [proper] taxi. He was taken for a ride by the dealer‚ even by the trusted agency of the department – the roadworthy testing stations.“I believe government has not played its role [in] regulation and control. I think government has failed when it comes to regulation and control.”Madonsela's hearings are part of an investigation launched in 2012 after a former banker Hendrick de Beer complained that illegally converted panel vans caused thousands of deaths on the country's roads.Madonsela will wrap up the hearings on Wednesday.

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