'SA is not a banana republic': Mbalula to defiant taxi industry

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula says he is not an enemy of the taxi industry.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula says he is not an enemy of the taxi industry.
Image: Sunday Times

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has dared taxi bosses to report him to President Cyril Ramaphosa if they are unhappy.

Mbalula on Monday said he was on the side of the taxi industry but if they felt he was not doing his job, they should go directly to Ramaphosa.

His address came as some in the industry vowed to defy lockdown regulations and fill their vehicles to 100% of carrying capacity.

A number of taxi associations have now started to load 100% capacity to make up for losses incurred as discussions over the relief fund continue.

“You have got an ally in minister Mbalula ... I am here for you, but if you don't want me, it's fine, but I am here to serve you and report to the president,” said Mbalula.

“If you think that Mbalula is not doing you right, you must report to the president and tell what my problem is, but I would also want to hear it,” he added.

He stressed that he was not at war with the taxi industry and was not prepared to engage in any type of war.

Mbalula said the main reason for the delay in the payment of the relief fund was because the taxi industry was not happy with the decision by the state to use the SA Revenue Service to pay the money to beneficiaries.

He said he would only be able to get back to the industry about their concerns, including the call to carry full loads of passengers, later this week when the national coronavirus command council had resolved the issue.

Mbalula said there was no reason for the taxi industry to take to the streets to get their  issues resolved and warned the industry against breaking the law. 

“South Africa is not a banana republic. We can't allow a state of lawlessness, where people dare government and say that we are basically going to render this unworkable and ungovernable.

“We must learn as a nation to live within the parameters of the law, and raise our issues,” said Mbalula.

He said the rule of law must remain while the industry raised their matters.


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