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There's no need to fight, says Mbalula after meeting with Santaco

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said that he had been talking to the industry’s leaders to find a solution to some of their challenges, such as losing their vehicles to bank repossessions during the lockdown period.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula at a media briefing on 29 June 2020. Picture: @EsethuOnDuty/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) has described its meeting on Monday afternoon with the Transport Minister as "cordial" following a standoff between the sector and government.

This follows its rejection of the government’s financial relief package for the industry, which it said was not enough, while the lockdown regulations were forcing the industry to operate on a limited capacity.

Earlier, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula appealed with the industry to give negotiations a chance, with some breaking the lockdown rules and loading their taxis at 100% capacity.

Minister Mbalula has admitted that years of not formalising the taxi industry has led to the current crisis, with many unable to qualify for business relief programmes due to the informal nature of the sector.

He said that he had been talking to the industry’s leaders to find a solution to some of their challenges, such as losing their vehicles to bank repossessions during the lockdown period.

"We can't talk past each other, there is no war here. There is no need to fight, we must talk, we must engage."

There has also been disruptions and strikes by taxi operators in some parts of the country since this morning, while those who are operating appear to be doing so with no regard to the 70% capacity rule.

The taxi industry, although privately owned, is the country’s transport backbone, with millions reliant on the system to get to work and other destinations.

However, since level five of the lockdown, government has regulated the functioning of the industry to lessen contact between individuals as the country fights the spread of the coronavirus.

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