Taxi drivers, cab operators, and e-hailing services whose businesses were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing national lockdown, will now receive R5000 each as a once off.
This milestone achievement has been welcomed by taxi orgnisations and bosses who felt were being ignored by Government.
An estimated 227 000 taxi operators are set to benefit, but if only you have a legal permit to operate and registered with South African Revenue Services.
This also forms part of transforming and formalising the taxi industry and would go a long way to standardising the role of the taxi industry in broader public transport.
Making the announcement yesterday, the minister of transport Fikile Mbalula said the revenue loss during the lockdown presented an economic challenge, with transport operators experiencing “an unexpected shortfall in their finances”.
“Almost 20% or more of the taxi industry experienced total loss of income, particularly the long-distance and cross-border operators as a result of the closure of international borders and the prohibition of inter-provincial travel,” said Mbalula.
According to SA Taxi, the South African minibus taxi industry contributes an estimated R5 billion annually in the GDP, and almost 70% of all South African households use minibus taxis.
The department said operators must have a valid operating licence or a receipt as proof of renewal and must be registered with the South African Revenue Service as a taxpayer to get the money.
“The disbursement will be done through the National Empowerment Fund (NEF). We have appointed the NEF as the implementing agent of this process and they have worked tirelessly to put systems in place to enable the release of funds to thousands of eligible operators,” Mbalula said.
Minibus taxi operators can apply on the Department of Transport’s website, or via telephone (0800 201 971, toll free) and SMS (45864).
Applications are now open and will close in March 2022.
Meanwhile, Mbalula also indicated the troubled Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) board would soon announce new CEO.
This is despite the on-going legal battle with previous CEO Zolani Matthews, for not declaring his dual citizenship SA-UK.
Mbalula also indicated the rail agency was on track to ‘rehabilitate’ itself and deliver passengers countrywide.
Image (Transport minister Fikile Mbalula at the taxi relief fund media brief on Tuesday).