Cyril Ramaphosa economic recovery plan 22

Photo: GCIS / Flickr

Ramaphosa: Taxi Lekgotla must emerge with blueprint to stop road carnage

President Cyril Ramaphosa has used his weekly newsletter to elaborate on government’s efforts to address flaws in the public transport system

Cyril Ramaphosa economic recovery plan 22

Photo: GCIS / Flickr

President Cyril Ramaphosa has said government is placing much-needed focus on the taxi industry, particularly with the National Taxi Lekgotla, set to take place at the end of October.

In his weekly newsletter to the nation, released on Monday, October 26, 2020, Ramaphosa places focus on the state of public transport, its overall impact in the economic landscape , and the plight of commuters, to name but a few.

The lekgotla brings together government, civil society and industry stakeholders and comes on the back of provincial makgotla that have taken place in most provinces.

“The lekgotla will seek common ground on existing business models, safety and compliance, broader economic empowerment of operators and the issue of subsidies for taxis. It will also look at how to end the conflict and violence that continues to plague the industry because of competition on routes,” Ramaphosa said.

“Most importantly, it must emerge with a blueprint for a formalised industry that plays a meaningful role in the mainstream economy and is effectively regulated”

The president also noted that most commuters do not have the positive experiences on public transport and are faced with some shortcomings.

“Unroadworthy vehicles, unsafe driving, speeding, overloading and other practices are persistent problems in the taxi industry. Many people fall victim to crime on trains, taxis and buses,”

President Cyril Ramaphosa

The president’s latest remarks come as 16 people were killed when a minibus taxi collided with a truck between Melmoth and Ulundi in KwaZulu-Natal.

Public transport and its impact on economic activity

The president further said the industry can and must play an important role in government’s ultimate objective of improving the daily experiences of commuters through the establishment of integrated rapid transport service networks in the metros, cities, towns and rural districts.

Ramaphosa further acknowledged that while public transport is unsafe, unreliable and costly, it also affects economic activity.

“Given that about 4 in 10 workers use public transport to reach their workplaces, these challenges have knock-on effects on productivity, labour relations and business functioning,” he said.

The president also said that as part of the programme, government was also working with all stakeholders to improve the state of public transport – adding that such a move is necessary if government is to expand manufacturing, increase local production, stimulate small business activity and create more job opportunities.

According to a 2015 study, two-thirds of households who use public transport travel by minibus taxi, while a quarter depend on bus services and 10% make use of a train.

“In a country where the vast majority do not have access to private cars, the provision of efficient, reliable, safe and affordable public transport is critical to our people’s everyday lives,” Ramaphosa said.