With one disastrous taxi strike down, a second nationwide strike was planned to go ahead this week.
Although reports allege that these strikes have been suspended, there is a chance that disaster might strike anyway.
This time it will be national.
Taxi Strike Number One
On June 15, parts of Johannesburg came to a standstill as thousands of minibus taxi drivers blocked the main highways. The strike caused traffic chaos and forced commuters to seek alternative transport.
The strike was due to the exorbitant monthly instalments that Toyota Quantum taxi owners were obligated to pay in order to keep their taxi on the road.
All taxis are part of the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco). Santaco administers that all vehicles are registered and roadworthy.
Santaco also has various associations who are linked to them. These associations provide taxi owners with finance, ensure vehicles that are registered and are also insured.
But Is There Another Strike Looming?
Following a recent meeting with Transport Minister, Mr Joe Maswanganyi, a second taxi strike that was planned for July 12 has been suspended.
This time, the strike aimed to be a nationwide taxi shutdown. This was planning on disrupting the entire country’s transport system.
SA Taxi And TaxiChoice
TaxiChoice and SA Taxi are two of the biggest associations who provide taxi owners with roadworthy vehicles.
SA Taxi is responsible for the following:
- Charging taxi operators 28% interest on Toyota Quantum minibuses that retail for about R450 000;
- Taxi operators are therefore required to pay a whopping R15 000 a month on their vehicle finance instalment;
- They repossess and resell vehicles if they owner lapses in payment.
With the Toyota Quantum being the most popular brand of taxi in SA, many taxi operators are blaming the ridiculous finance on Toyota.
According to Santaco spokesperson, Thabiso Molelekwa; “Out of the R7 billion, they make a year, 80% of that comes from the taxi industry but they refuse to empower the industry.”
Not only do taxi operators have to pay their monthly instalments on their vehicles, but they are ALL required to have taxi insurance.
But What About Insurance?
TaxiChoice’s Deputy Managing Director, Thulani Qwabe, confirmed that “There are strict rules that taxi operators have to follow in order to transport passengers legally.”
Taxis are not able to register with their local associations, let alone with Santaco, if they are uninsured.
The problem comes in when insurance is not included in the monthly instalment. Many taxi operators are obligated to pay for the insurance over and above the monthly instalment fee.
TaxiSure, a local taxi insurance institution has been providing insurance for taxi operators for the past 17 years.
They, like many other insurance companies, are not affiliated with any of the taxi associations, which means that owners are required to purchase insurance from them separately, at an additional fee.
“If the applicant is financed through SA Taxi then their insurance is included in their instalment, but if they’re not financed through SA Taxi, they must arrange their own insurance,” explains TaxiSure Communication Manager, Michelle Tillburn.
You Have Been Warned!
It is advised that, although the strike has legally been suspended by the Department of Transport, there is a good chance that it might still go ahead.
This will leave over 15 million commuters nationwide high and dry on transport.
All road users are encouraged to be vigilant on July 12, and if it does go ahead, make use of alternative transport.