There are signs of a fundamental shift in the South African government’s attitude towards the minibus-taxi sector and its role in urban transport. Since its origins in the 1920s in the form of independently owned sedan vehicles, the minibus-taxi sector has been both a reviled and welcomed part of society. Reviled because the sector has continued to defy the state’s attempts historically to suppress or more recently to replace it, yet tacitly welcomed since without it millions of people would be stranded. In recent years, significant effort has gone into building advanced bus or bus rapid transit (BRT) systems such as Rea Vaya, MyCiTi, GoGeorge and A Re Yeng. Part of the aim of projects such as these has been to replace and absorb affected minibus-taxi businesses. These processes have been challenging and costly.

Long-standing adversarial relationships between the government and minibus-taxi owners and associations have complicated transitional and contracting negotiations. SA’...

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