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Mbalula meets with taxi industry to discuss financial impact of COVID-19

Two taxi associations in Johannesburg have already indicated they would be hiking fares from next week by a whopping 172%.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula addresses members of the Gauteng traffic police, taxi associations and commuters outside the MTN Noord taxi rank on 1 April 2020. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula is meeting with the taxi industry on Monday, with the financial impact of the COVID-19 lockdown high on the agenda.

Two taxi associations in Johannesburg have already indicated they would be hiking fares from next week by a whopping 172%.

This means Alexandra commuters will have to fork out R30 for a single trip to Sandton instead of R11, which they are currently paying.

The minister's meeting with the National Taxi Alliance and South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) is expected to include talks around whether government can financially assist the industry with taxis restricted when it comes to the number of passengers allowed.

The National Taxi Alliance's Theo Malela said the price hikes outlined by some taxi associations were ridiculously high.

“I am very hopeful that there will be intervention from government’s side given that our office has been working with the director general in the office of the minister, so we are very hopeful that we will come up with a solution.”

Meanwhile, Mbalula's spokesperson Ayanda Allie-Paine said although the minister sympathised with the taxi operators, they needed to be mindful of the poor.

“Minister Mbalula wishes to remind the industry that the current regulations prevent illegal profiteering and a result, Minister Mbalula will refer this matter to the competition commission.”