No taxi fare increase in WC, says Santaco

The announcement will probably come as a relief for commuters in the provinces as prices in other parts of the country will see an increase.

Cape Town's taxi hub in the CBD on 1 June 2020. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) in the Western Cape has announced it won't be increasing fares for commuters next month.

The announcement, made on Monday afternoon, will probably come as a relief for commuters in the provinces as prices in other parts of the country will see an increase.

In Gauteng, Santaco has decided on an increase of up to R7.

Western Cape MEC for Transport Bonginkosi Madikizela met with stakeholders in the taxi industry on Monday in Khayelitsha regarding the proposed taxi fare increase.

"I want to thank the representatives of Santaco Western Cape for showing leadership and engaging us as government and for their cooperation during this difficult time. Santaco also agreed that they will not embark on a strike because they understand that the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works has demonstrated a constructive approach and is engaging them in good faith."

Tensions boiled over in Gauteng during a widespread taxi strike on Monday morning when operators clashed with police and SANDF officials in parts of the province as drivers blocked public roads. Many commuters were either left stranded or had to return home as a result.

Operators said the R1.1 billion relief fund announced by government to help the industry would not go far enough to make a significant difference after the crippling lockdown.

"The relief fund allocated to the taxi industry is not enough and was never meant to compensate for the loss of income. All industries are feeling the pinch caused by the lockdown. We believe there are more sustainable ways to deal with the loss of income affecting the taxi industry," said Madikizela.

"The Western Cape submitted proposals to the national Department of Transport to restructure a number of grants to compensate for loss of income. These grants cannot be spent because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But we believe that we can utilise these grants through initiatives like the Red Dot, a partnership between the Western Cape Government and the minibus taxi industry to deliver critical transport services as part of the fight against COVID-19."

Madikizela said he was grateful to Santaco for showing leadership and engaging government and putting the passengers first as the people most affected by the fee increase.