What we do

Taxi Chamber

The Executive Officer of TETA’s Taxi Chamber is Ramodise Tsolo. Tsolo, with his team based in Randburg, oversees the implementation of TETA’s mandate in North West.

About the Taxi Subsector

Public transport in South Africa is divided into four modes; namely, taxis, buses, trains and aeroplanes. The National Land Transport Act of 2009 (NLTA) describes land transport as movement of persons and goods on or across land by means of any conveyance and through the use of any infrastructure and facilities in connection therewith. The taxi industry is concerned with the movement of persons through vehicles carrying up to 18 passengers, according to the National Land Transport Transition Act (NLTTA), 22 of 2000.

The taxi industry in South Africa is defined by the Department of Transport (DoT) and Transport Education Training Authority (TETA) as a transport subsector in which employers and employees are associated for the purpose of transporting passengers by road for reward in vehicles other than buses. The subsector includes minibus taxis, metered taxis, scholar transport, shuttle services and chauffeur drivers.

The taxi industry employs between 400 000 to 600 000 people—95% of workers in the industry are African and less than 2% are female. The percentage of households using taxis every day is said to be 69%. There are over 300 000 taxi operators/owners in South Africa—most of these owners operate as sole proprietors who are not necessarily business owners/company tax entities.

In order to operate a taxi business in South Africa, one needs to be a member of a local taxi association and own an operating license/permit issued by a local municipality or the Department of Transport.


Taxi Industry’s Economic Contribution

According to the Department of Transport, Arrive Alive and Statistics South Africa, taxi is the most popular mode of transport in urban and rural areas for majority of South Africans. The industry plays an important role in the economy, considering that the majority of South Africans are poor and solely dependent on public transport for execution of various tasks.

As at 2003, the South African minibus taxi industry was estimated to have an annual turnover of more than R16, 5 billion and comprised more than 20 000 owners and 200 000 employees. According to SANTACO (2014), over 600 000 people work in the taxi industry. During its fourth elective conference (April 2014), the president of SANTACO said collectively there are more than 180 000 taxis, travelling 78 million kilometres a year and moving 15 million commuters a day. According to SANTACO (2014), “annually the industry consumes petrol to the combined value of R15bn, spends R2bn on insurance, R600m on tyres, and R110m on lubricants and pays R7bn in salaries.”


Challenges

There are four fundamental challenges faced by TETA in facilitating skills development and training in the taxi industry:

  • Low participation in skills development initiative
    • There are currently less than 2 000 taxi businesses registered with the South African Revenue Services (SARS) under TETA in terms of the Standard Industry Classification Code. Of this number, only 45 are paying skills levies and only up to 14 are participating in skills development through submission of Workplace Skills Plans (WSP) and Annual Training Reports (ATR) in terms of the Skills Development Act. Most of these companies come from the metered taxi industry and one from chauffer services.

  • Low skills levy base
    • The majority of taxi businesses are small and below the threshold set by the Skills Levy Act for payment of skill levies. Currently, the industry contributes less than R 1 500 000.00 in levies per annum, which is less than 3 % of total TETA levy income. Those contributing, though small, do not come from the minibus industry.

  • TETA’s ability to reach the wide spread industry
    • Public transportation of passengers is central to economic activities of the nine provinces in South Africa—from rural to metropolitan areas. There is bound to be a taxi business everywhere in South Africa and TETA has physical presence only in Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Western Cape and cannot afford the human capital capacity to cover the length and breadth of the country.

  • Taxi businesses, moreso minibuses, are not fully registered as tax entity companies and/or are incorrectly registered
    • The reality held by most taxi operators is that only an operating license is necessary to be regarded as a business owner. Therefore, most taxi operators do not bother to register businesses in terms of South African Companies Act at the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). Most businesses operate as sole proprietors from personal bank accounts as opposed to business bank accounts.
    • Taxi drivers are hired on the basis of possession of a driver’s license and a permit to transport the public—Professional Driver’s Permit (PDP)—as opposed to a recognised formal qualification.
    • Some of the taxi operators still enter into informal and/or verbal contract with their drivers, making it difficult for contribution and collection of skills levies and other statutory deductions, such as Unemployment Insurance Fund


Strategic focus

To address the key taxi industry challenges, the Taxi Chamber aims to employ the following strategies:

  • Focus on taxi industry leadership development at provincial level across the country with special focus on promoting understanding of the importance and benefits of skills development and training;
  • Partner with the Department of Transport in advocating the cooperative model, as presented in the TETA AGM of 2016/17 financial year by the South African National Taxi Council;
  • Embark on an advocacy project in partnership with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and South African Revenue Services (SARS) to promote formalisation of employment and tax compliance in the taxi industry;
  • Promote road safety and healthy lifestyle through TETA led campaigns in support of other stakeholder initiatives, including government.


Key Achievements

The Chamber continues to see significant year-on-year improvement in its performance and overall stakeholder participation.

  • The Taxi Chamber is proud of the strong relationships it has fostered with subsector stakeholders at national, provincial and local levels;
  • The Chamber has experienced more than 100% increase in levy income—although from a low base, it is still an important trend indicator. The increase in the levy income is attributable to the relationships established with the subsector and business-to-business interactions aimed at increasing Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) submissions;
  • Though taxi industry levy income is significantly low at less than 3% of the total TETA levy income, the chamber discretionary grant funding to the subsector has constantly increased from less than R 10 million in the financial year 2011/12 to over R 30 million year-on-year since then (funding over 112 contracts with various stakeholders benefiting over 10 000 participants).
  • Other notable achievements include implementation of a MoU with the North West University (NWU) for students bursaries and workplace experience opportunities; MoU and related service level agreements with Taletso and Orbit TVET Colleges; and a MoU with the Department of Community Safety and Transport Management in North West.
  • A taxi industry specific qualification has been developed and registered with the QCTO. Learning material is available for stakeholders wishing to deliver this qualification.


Employee representatives

The South African Transport Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) has some footprint in employee representation.


Statutory bodies

Though there are no statutory bodies, the industry is represented by the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO); National Taxi Alliance (NTA) and South African Metered Taxi Association. The South African Transport Allied Workers Union represents the labour force and its activities vary from province to province.


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