South Africa Taxi Council Suspends Plan for July 12 Strike

  • Council halts strike plan pending meeting with minister
  • Minibus taxi operators want indefinite licence for financing

Taxi operators in South Africa suspended plans to strike on July 12, pending the outcome of talks with Transport Minister Mkhacani Maswanganyi.

The South African National Taxi Council wants licenses to be made indefinite, which will enable operators to obtain finance for their vehicles from banks at more favorable rates, Santaco spokesman Thabiso Molelekwa said in an interview on Johannesburg-based Kaya FM. The council is meeting Mswanganyi Friday, he said.

Last month, minibus taxi operators blocked many of the main roads and highways in the country’s Gauteng province, bringing transport to a near standstill in parts of the country’s main commercial hub of Johannesburg.

Most black South Africans, who make up more than 80 percent of the population of about 55 million, rely on minibus taxis for transport, a legacy of apartheid which forced non-whites to live on the outskirts of cities. The taxis, which often operate informally, have a reputation for being poorly maintained as owners have limited access to capital needed for improvements.

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