Transport minister Fikile Mbalula wants to scrap 63,000 taxis in the next three years as part of a taxi recapitalisation programme.
Addressing parliament during the debate on the state of the nation address, Mbalula said the plan had come up after the national taxi lekgotla last year.
Mbalula promised that the resolutions of the lekgotla would place the taxi industry on a new trajectory.
“An integral part of these resolutions is the implementation of a reimagined taxi recapitalisation programme, located within the broader ambit of an economic empowerment model, including increased local content of the vehicles in line with the South African automotive industry master plan which, among other things, seeks to increase local content to 60%.
“It is through this reimagined TRP programme that we will deliver the targets of scrapping 63,000 taxis by 2024 and implement a new public transport funding model that includes the taxi industry from the next financial year,” said Mbalula.
He said his department was expecting the expansion of the integrated public transport networks in 10 cities.
“National Treasury and the Department of Transport, through the Cities Support Programme, are working closely with cities to improve implementation capacity,” he said.
Mbalula explained his plans for a shift from the overused road networks to rail.
“We are putting in place long-term interventions that will introduce rail reform, thereby making rail more effective, efficient and competitive both in respect of freight and passenger transport. This includes a rail policy and legislation which will support and facilitate investment in rail infrastructure, rail modernisation and technology, safety and economic regulation, and facilitate the participation of the private sector in rail,” said Mbalula.
As part of this, Mbalula said his department would review and extend the dangerous-goods list that identifies goods that should not be on the road, for safety reasons.
“Similarly, high cubed heavy trucks will no longer get exemptions to be on the road, considering the impact and the damage they do to our roads. The challenges we have to overcome are vast, but not insurmountable,” he said.
Mbalula said the department was going to work to modernise the commuter rail system.
“We have allocated billions towards the Prasa fleet renewal programme, being the anchor of the overall modernisation programme. Over the past few years, the pace towards realising the modernisation programme has been painstakingly slow due to a number of challenges confronting Prasa.
“We expect to see the ramp-up of production of the new trains, with a delivery schedule of 44 trains in 2021/22, 51 trains in 2022/23, and a maximum of 62 trains per annum thereafter,” he said.
He said for the 2021/22 financial year, Prasa will be rolling out the new trains in KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape and Gauteng.
TimesLIVE (TMG Digital)