Government has reportedly told the taxi industry that it intends to redirect the R1.3 billion relief funds meant for the sector for other use or to assist other sectors affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The funds, deemed insufficient by the sector after government indicated that its coffers were dry and couldn’t raise any other funds than what it could, has since been retained by the Department of Transport. Reportedly, the Department of Transport has proclaimed that the taxi bosses should ask their members to accept the R1.3billion even though it is insufficient,
Theo Malele, spokesperson for the National Taxi Alliance (NTA), said that they were told again by Government that it would not change its views that the South African Revenue Services (SARS) be the disbursement agency for the funds. He said they would also start the process of encouraging members who are legitimate to access the funds to try get it.
This stringent and perhaps strange requirement, has not been offered to the loss-making state-owned enterprises such as SAA (South African Airways), DENEL, or Transnet. This despite the reported and often evident corruption in these companies that are bailed out by the state with the public purse.
“We have no alternative but to follow the route that government say we should follow because they can’t come with any other process of making sure that taxi operators access the money,” said Malele.
Efforts to speak to Thabisho Molelekwa, spokesperson for the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) were unsuccessful.
Numerous calls were made to him but none were returned.
This is a developing story.