Operators struggle to access online system for COVID-19 Taxi Relief Fund

Over R1 billion has been allocated to the faxi fund as a once-off payment to operators.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula engaged taxi operators in the Western Cape on 16 February 2022 to apply for funding under the COVID-19 Taxi Relief Fund (TRF) scheme. Picture: @MbalulaFikile/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Taxi Alliance on Friday said it was inundated with calls for assistance in applying for the COVID-19 Taxi Relief Fund due to several problems with the system.

Over R1 billion has been allocated to the faxi fund as a once-off payment to operators.

The Department of Transport announced that the application process was launched in January.

The taxi body said operators were frustrated that taxis older than 2008 were still awaiting approval of their operating licenses as per the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme regulations.

National Taxi Alliance spokesperson Theo Malele said these taxis provided transport during the hard lockdowns, only to find out later that they wouldn't be getting any form of reprieve by virtue of not having the required documents.

"Taxi operators are in a catch 22 situation with these taxis because they can't scrap them without their operating licences being renewed."

He added that there were serious challenges with the online application system, which was offline more often than not.

"Those who are lucky to complete the application online are never informed of the completeness or otherwise of their application and therefore left in limbo."

Malele said the toll-free number was always off and was also linked to an auto-response that may give you an OTP number and before you punch in the number, the system shut down.