R1.1 billion relief fund announced to cushion COVID battered taxi industry

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said the intervention is part of a list of priorities meant to address problems in the sector.

Image: © Alexey Stiop /123rf.com

Government has unveiled a R1.1 billion once-off relief fund for the country’s taxi industry.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said the intervention, meant to assist the industry from the negative economic effects COVID-19, is part of a list of priorities meant to address problems in the sector.

Minibus taxi operators, metered taxis and e-hailing services are all eligible for a stake of the fund.

The project has been in the works since the pandemic hit South African shores as the government moved to cushion sectors that were affected by the series of lockdowns put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

A strict criterion has been set up by the National Empowerment Fund which is administering the fund.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said, “The transport sector hasn’t escaped the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people have been left unemployed and are struggling to make ends meet. Despite the odds, our people have remained resilient and hopeful that our collective efforts will sufficiently reignite the economy.”

This is not the first time the government has assisted the taxi industry with billions invested in the decades-old Taxi Recapitalisation Programme which was first launched in 2006.