The taxi industry in SA has for years suffered from a bad reputation. And while some of it may be self-inflicted — bad driver behaviour and incidents of taxi violence which we all condemn — the industry deserves more than to be “shunned”, as political commentator and author Ralph Mathekga suggested recently. Mathekga raises several critical issues and challenges the industry faces, such as debt-ridden owners caught in a cycle of poverty, the rampant violence, and a reputation for poor customer service. He goes on to say that as cities grow and become more sophisticated with renewed transport networks, the minibus taxi industry will soon be shunned as outdated. He further speculates that the government’s reluctance to transform the industry is actually a plan to “let it die a natural death”. While Mathekga raises a number of important issues that the industry needs to overcome, we believe that the taxi industry in SA has never been more relevant than now and it should form an integra...

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