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Should government subsidise SA's taxi industry?

8 April 2020 1:15 PM

Kieno Kammies asks whether the taxi industry should receive a government subsidy in light of the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown.

It's one of the industries hardest hit by the coronavirus lockdown.

While it usually serves over 16-million South Africans every day, the country's taxi industry is currently transporting a fraction of that number.

And although the strict capacity regulations announced at the start of the lockdown have since been relaxed by the transport minister, the impact on the industry is significant.

Such has been the negative impact on the industry that an R3.5 billion relief fund was announced Tuesday by the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) to compensate workers in the industry.

But what of government? Should taxpayer money be used to subsidise the industry and to what extent?

Mikhail Manuel of the UCT Centre for Transport Studies say yes, but told CapeTalk's Kieno Kammies what is currently preventing that from happening.

One, is that they're not legal entities, they're informal businesses.

Mikhail Manuel , Doctoral researcher - UCT Centre for Transport Studies

Two, there are thousands upon thousands of operators and owners...so the capacity that government needs to have to be able to enter into legal agreements...is a tall order.

Mikhail Manuel , Doctoral researcher - UCT Centre for Transport Studies

Manuel says what's needed is an industry-led, voluntary formalisation of individual businesses.

The taxi industry must take the bull by the horns and formalise themselves.

Mikhail Manuel , Doctoral researcher - UCT Centre for Transport Studies

Click below to listen to the full interview:


8 April 2020 1:15 PM

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