The implementation of new public transport legislation to regulate operating permits for taxis in the province is a fiasco and could spell disaster for people wishing to operate taxis during the Soccer World Cup.

This provincial and national disgrace was caused when the regulations in the National Land Transport Act pertaining to issuing permits for taxis was gazetted and proclaimed on 8 December 2009 as mandated by the President.

However the regulations pertaining to the implementation of the system was not gazetted at the same time the act was proclaimed. This means that from 8 December 2009 taxi and public operators using old permits were unintentionally acting illegally by not having the new regulation permits.

In essence, the act stipulates that operating licence boards must now become Provincial Registration Entities and all regulations pertaining to implementation be completed by 28 February 2010.

Although the regulations have since been gazetted, there is serious concern whether the process can be legally implemented and complied with by February month end.

The consequences of this tardiness is serious as it implies that while taxi operators are now effectively unintentionally operating illegally, law enforcement officers are suspending taxis that don’t have the new permits through no fault of their own.

This diabolical state of affairs is leading to job losses in the taxi industry and also does not auger well for those wanting temporary permits for 2010 World cup .

The DA sympathises with the taxi industry and especially the Eastern Cape Provincial Taxi Council in this regard.

While there is a national moratorium on the issuing of permits, this impasse could cause the taxi council to suspend operations and leave thousands of commuters stranded having devastating consequences for labour productivity in the province.

I will be taking up this matter with the Provincial Department of Transport first portfolio committee meeting of the year in the Bhisho legislature and pressing the MEC with parliamentary questions and requesting monthly progress reports in this regard.

** My parliamentary questions to the MEC are below:

Oral Questions:

Mr D.B. Haddon to ask MEC for Transport:

1) What is the latest progress in establishing Provincial Registering Entity (as required in the National Land Transport Act?

2) Have all the regulations as required by the act to implement issuing of operating permits to taxi’s and others been adhered to and in force by the department?

3) How many taxi’s were :

a) Impounded

b) Fined

for not having the required permits to operate up to the last date information was available?

4) Will the fines (if applicable) issued to such taxi operators be waived by the department and if not why not?

For further information, please contact Dacre Haddon, MPL on 079 694 3788