Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi said on Monday that the Gauteng government was hard at work clearing a backlog in taxi operating licence applications dating as far back as 2011.
Vadi said the work done so far was part of a taxi outreach programme that followed a taxi operators summit held last month.
“What we are dealing with now is the backlog of applications for operating licences, and not new applications. We have learnt a good lesson that it is not for the government to wait for people to come to us, but go out to the regions and make services accessible together with service providers and other stakeholders on site,” Vadi told reporters in Johannesburg.
With more than 15 000 minibus taxis estimated to be operating illegally in the province, Vadi said there was no need to keep those who had applied and were ready to comply waiting.
He said 199 operating licences were issued in the past few weeks while 979 were still being processed. Another 96 applications could not be processed due to incomplete documentation. A further 122 applications were rejected due to false documentation and fake permits.
The province has at least 35 000 legally issued operating licences.
“A second round of the programme will allow new operating applications. These face-to-face interactions with taxi operators have built greater trust between them and government. Many thought the process was an election ploy, but they were very surprised by the amount of work government officials have put into the process,” said Vadi.
The July summit was held amid taxi violence along lucrative routes such as the newly opened Africa Mall in Midrand. Five people, including two taxi owners, were shot and killed at the mall this year as the war over the control of the route waged on.
The summit adopted a declaration to allow seamless taxi operations and safety. The declaration was signed by Premier David Makhura and the Gauteng National Taxi Alliance and the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco).
– African News Agency (ANA)