Minister Mbalula should step off Twitter and address challenges in taxi industry

The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, to step off Twitter and pay full attention to his department, particularly the processing of the Covid-19 relief funds to assist the taxi industry.

We condemn the violence and intimidation towards private citizens at the National Taxi Alliance (NTA) strike yesterday. We are particularly disturbed by images and video clips on social media depicting what seem like taxi marshals intimidating and damaging private properties such as cars. There has also been reports of passenger being  kicked out of busses and a Tshwane Metro bus driver being intimidated with violence which resulted in the City halting all bus operations.

There was absolutely no reason why the strike could not have been peaceful and that the protest action be carried out without intimidation, damage of private property and violence.

The NTA should take full responsibility for the members’ actions and we urge law enforcement agencies to hold them to account.

The thuggery witnessed yesterday is a culmination of the government’s inefficiency as it relates to the taxi industry and total failure to fully regulate, formalize and modernize the industry. As well as the government electing not to make available much needed the Covid-19 relief funds to operators as initially committed to do.

The Transport Department had set aside R1 billion in Covid-19 relief funds, yet they’re yet to pay these funds towards the taxi operators for promised relief due to the sustained hard lockdown which resulted in commuter numbers declining.

The taxi industry is one of the backbones transporting our workforce and keeping the economy active. And while we must never allow a situation in which the industry attempts to hold the economy to ransom, government and Minister Mbalula has to come to the table and ensure the efficient and regulated operation of his industry.

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