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Taxi inquiry told how easy it was for ex-convicts to acquire operating licenses

Santaco chairman Johannes Mkhonza is testifying at the commission on Wednesday.

FILE: Taxis seen at the Bellville taxi rank on 6 August 2018, in Cape Town. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The commission of inquiry into taxi violence has heard how easy it is to acquire an operating license even for ex-convicts and others with a history of violence.

Johannes Mkhonza, the president and chairman of the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco), is testifying at the commission on Wednesday.

The commission is investigating the underlying causes and people behind the ongoing killings in the taxi industry across Gauteng.

Mkhonza said operators were usually expected to apply for operating licenses through the transport department.

However, he said if they were not granted the license by the department, there were other ways to obtain one.

“They just do a transfer of a permit from one operator to another, because when you apply for a new operating license it takes longer and has to be gazetted and sometimes it can be rejected on the gazette.”

But Justice Jeremiah Bhuti Shongwe asked what Santaco has done when they are made aware of ex-convicts operating on routes in the province.

Mkhonza said in some instances, operators who do not succeed in acquiring a license, operate on the routes illegally.