The recommendations contained in the final report from the commission of Inquiry into Taxi Violence in Gauteng will finally have to be analyzed and fully agreed upon before being implemented by both the Gauteng government and the taxi industry in the province.
Broadly speaking, these recommendations represent the state under which the taxi industry in the country finds itself. At the time of going to press, both the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) and National Taxi Alliance (NTA ) in Gauteng – the two main bodies representing the taxi sector in the province – were to meet with Gauteng MEC for roads and transport Jacob Mamabolo to debate and agree on which recommendations to implement and which ones still needed to be debated.
If Mamabolo’s assurances during a live TV interview about the need to implement two recommendations as a matter of urgency are anything to go by, then it is a foregone conclusion that the issues of police involvement and government officials’ personal interest in the business of the taxi sector will be implemented.
That law enforcement agencies have officials owning taxis is something that has been highlighted in the past by various investigative agencies looking at the causes of taxi violence in the country.
Once police officials are allowed to own taxis registered in their relatives or other members within associations then that is a recipe for disaster.
How will police officials investigate or discourage violence in the taxi sector when they themselves own taxis? How will government officials whose job is to process application forms for routes be transparent when they themselves expect bribes from taxi owners for allocating them lucrative routes?
Until the government and the industry leaders find a common purpose and agree to flush all these rotten elements from the system, there would be no end to problems in the taxi industry.
The imminent meeting on 4th May between MEC Mamabolo and leaders from the taxi industry in the province will go a long way to indicating if the industry will take the first step towards solving its own problems before attempting to implement other far bigger and important but hard -to-forfeit benefits associated with running associations.