Daily Archives: July 9, 2017

Minister Joe Maswanganyi and SA National Taxi Council on outcome of meeting to discuss taxi industry

Joint media statement by the Minister of Transport and Santaco on the outcome of the meeting held at the Department of Transport on the 7th of July 2017 on the developments in the taxi industry

2nd Deputy President of SANTACO � Mr Boy Zondi

Secretary General – Mr Vernon Billet

Deputy Secretary General – Mr Robert Lentsoane

Treasurer � Mr Thomas Masase

Acting Director General � Mr Mathabatha Mokonyama

Members of the Media

Ladies and Gentlemen

I greet you all and welcome you to a joint media briefing by the Department of Transport and the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) following the fruitful and progressive meeting held by the Department of Transport, led by myself as the Minister of Transport and the SANTACO delegation, led by the Deputy President of SANTACO, Mr Boy Zondi, on Friday, 07 July 2017.

The meeting was held as part of the commitment we made as government that we will meet with the transport industry role player including the taxi industry, the rail sector as well as the bus operators to discuss the transformation of this important economic industry, which is the cornerstone of economic development.

Upfront, we would like to indicate that we agreed with the industry to put on hold the planned strike on 12 July 2017, to allow for further engagement on issues that SANTACO brought to the attention of government. Both Government and SANTACO agreed to work together to confront challenges that the taxi industry continue to experience on a daily basis as clearly articulated in the meeting.

The meeting agreed to address issues relating to (1) the Taxi Subsidy (2) the Operating licences and (3) Access to finance.

In taking the discussions forward, the meeting agreed to establish committees to deal with these issues. T he committees will incorporate members from SANTACO as well as those from the National and Provincial spheres of government.

The National Household Travel Survey indicates that taxis are the most preferred mode of transport, accounting for over 68% of the daily commuting public. This means the taxi industry remains the most preferred mode of transport. It is therefore inevitable that the issue of the subsidy of the industry needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. We have noted the need to address backlogs at Provincial Regulatory Entities which deal with operating licenses.

On the Operating licenses, government has been able to provide legislative requirements of operating licences to ensure that taxi operations are confined to a specific area as opposed to the previous radius based operations.

Government together with the taxi industry and commuters conceptualised what today is known as the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme which is currently under review and will be presented to Cabinet this year.

As government we also note the frustration that taxi industry is experiencing with regard to access to finance. The taxi industry is charged exorbitant interest rates when buying new taxis. To this end, we are going to involve other government departments, including Treasury and its agencies to explore other possible funding mechanisms.

As government we are indeed upbeat that working together with the taxi industry we will make sure that we transform this industry into a modern, technology savvy and safe mode of public transport that will become a choice for the young and the old.

To this end, we will be convening Transformation Summits in various sectors of transport to explore further opportunities that will benefit the previously disadvantaged, particularly women, youth and people living with disabilities.

In conclusion, we therefore call upon the taxi industry to unite against violence and any form of anarchy and criminality in the taxi industry. We call upon the industry to take a stance and expose those few individuals inclined on derailing the country from a good course of providing an affordable, accessible, safe and sustainable taxi industry.

As government we are seeking partnership with the taxi industry as mass public transport carrier. Together let us join hands in the implementation of our recently approved National Road Safety Strategy and ensure that our roads are safe at all times. Government acting alone cannot adequately reduce fatalities and injuries on our roads. United we can fight the scourge of these atrocities.

I take this opportunity to thank the leadership of SANTACO and the taxi industry in general for continuously engaging with government when there are issues that need to be addressed. Together we can transform the face of the taxi industry to the better.

Source: Government of South Africa

UNESCO Adds to List of World Heritage Sites

A remote Iranian desert city, Ice Age-era caves in Germany and a stone wharf in Brazil built for arriving African slave ships are three new additions to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites.

The World Heritage Committee spent a week meeting in Krakow, Poland, to consider 34 significant historical and cultural sites to add to the list.

This year’s selections include the Iranian city of Yazd, which UNESCO describes as a “living testimony to the use of limited resources for survival in the desert.”

The city has managed to avoid so-called modernization that destroyed many similar Iranian towns, and has preserved its traditional homes, bazaars, mosques and synagogues.

Another site UNESCO added to the list is in the Swabian Jura in southern Germany, one of the areas in Europe where humans first arrived more than 40,000 years ago, during the last Ice Age. They settled in caves, first discovered in the 1860s, and where they created some of the oldest known figurative art.

The U.N. cultural organization said the ancient musical instruments and prehistoric carved figures of animals and humans found in the caves help shed light on the origins of human artistic development

UNESCO also placed the Valongo Wharf in central Rio de Janeiro on the World Heritage List. The stone wharves were built in the early 1800s for slave ships sailing from Africa to Brazil. UNESCO called the wharves “the most important physical trace of the arrival of African slaves on the American continent.”

UNESCO added the World Heritage designation to more than 22 sites during its weeklong meeting in Poland, including choices that were controversial.

They include the Hoh Xil area in the China’s Qinghai province, a traditionally Tibetan area. By designating this a World Heritage site, the International Camnpaign for Tibet, an advocacy group critical of China’s administration there, said UNESCO endorses the forced relocation of Tibetan nomads by Chinese authorities.

China has promised to preserve the traditions and cultural heritage of the Tibetan region.

UNESCO also designated the Old City and Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron as a Palestinian World Heritage Site, angering Israel.

The city is split between Israeli and Palestinian control with the Old City and tomb in the Israeli sector. The tomb is sacred to Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Israel accuses UNESCO of trying to hide Jewish ties to Hebron, while Palestinians contend Israel is seeking to undermine their history.

Source: Voice of America