The National Taxi Alliance(NTA) has vowed to fight tooth and nail to maintain its independence as a national association, describing the National Taxi Lekgotla resolutions are “invalid” and the NTA would challenge them legally.
Last month the national taxi lekgotla resolved that the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) will be the taxi industry’s only recognised representative on a national stage.
This prompted a taxi protest that brought Johannesburg and Pretoria to a standstill on Wednesday when taxi associations affiliated to NTA blocked roads and marched to the Department of Transport and the Union Buildings. They demanded the payment of COVID-19 relief grants for the taxi industry and the NTA's independence and recognition.
“I can’t give you an exact date when we will be filing the papers, but it is a definite process that will unfold in due course. We have already instructed our attorneys on the matter,” said NTA spokesperson, Theo Malele.
“The Minister [of Transport, Fikile Mbalula] held this lekgotla of his with his friends as far as we are concerned because a critical stakeholder like NTA was not there. The reason that we were not there is because the minister deliberately muted the NTA and gave other people talking rights. This was very disingenuous of the minister," said Malele.
NTA said unity in the taxi industry is a fallacy and accused the African National Congress-led government of being incapable of unifying the industry.
“The ANC has failed to unite and put their differences aside, so how can they try to foster unity in the taxi industry when they themselves can hardly unite? It is a pipe dream," said Malele.
The taxi body is seeking a payout of the over R1.1-billion COVID-19 relief fund that government promised.
Malele said while these monies will not cover the losses the industry incurred because of the COVID-19 lockdown, it will help most of the taxi operators because the industry has not fully recovered.
NTA said the COVID-19 monies must be distributed by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and not SANTACO.
Government was given two weeks to respond to the memorandum of grievances that NTA submitted to both the transport department and The Presidency.