Cape Town – The National Taxi Alliance says it will support the scrapping of more than 2000 illegal minibus taxis which were converted from panel vans, but it wants the dealers and banks who sold those vehicles to be held accountable.
This response comes after the Department of Transport announced it had identified more than 2 000 illegal minibus taxis in the country. The department plans to have the vehicles scrapped.
The department promised to remove Toyota panel vans that were illegally converted into taxis.
The department introduced a Taxi Recapitalization Programme as a consequence of unsafe taxi vehicles that resulted in injury and loss of life.
In a government gazette published on Monday, the department proclaims that 2,353 converted panel vans were identified as being illegally converted and of the converted panel vans, 436 were modified, and 1,917 will have to be scrapped.
Speaking to Newzroom Afrika, National Taxi Alliance Spokesperson, Theo Malele, agreed that illegal converted panel vans were contributing to accidents on the roads.
“There has been some vehicle retailers who thought it was wise to convert panel vans and turn them into minibuses and some portion of taxi industry also followed," he said.
He said retailers have sold these vehicles to unsuspecting taxi operators and these vehicles were subsequently financed by the banks.
“As the National Taxi Alliance we haven’t actually promoted these, instead it is us who lodged complaints with the competitions board that it was not appropriate to have these vehicles on our roads," he said.
Malele said they are also advocating for the removal of these vehicles on the roads and the scrapping process would require an operator to have an operating licence to further this process.
"We are hopeful that if these vehicles be given a temporary operating licence for scrapping purposes that would come in handy and that would also encourage most people to get their vehicles to be scrapped," he said.
Malele said that the competitions board will further issue detailed information about the banks who are involved in this matter.
"This is an issue that the banks has to come to party with an issue that taxi operators who purchased their vehicles through them get their money back because these taxis did not meet the standard.
"The government is actually willing to pay for the scrapping allowance for these people to be able to move forward," he said.
He further said that taxi operators are willing to come forward in condition that government stops speaking in tongues and make operating licences available so that operators can be able to take their vehicles through to scrapping.