I strongly agree with Errol Hicks that we need to look into the finances of the minibus taxi industry (Taxi owners should pay up, January 15).
However, his letter is based on an article that incorrectly referred to “profits” of R90bn, when it should have said “turnover”. That is the figure we get if we assume 8-million taxi users each spend R1,000 a month on taxi fares.
While I support the idea that the SA Revenue Service should look into the tax returns of a number of kingpins in the industry, we would do even better to look into where the R90bn goes. Most of it ends up in the middle-class pockets of the fuel industry, vehicle and parts manufacturers and the finance houses, leaving R20bn-R25bn for the taxi bosses, owners, drivers, queue marshals and other hangers-on.
The business model of the industry is doing more to sustain inequality than we imagine. Poorer people are supporting mainly middle-class people. No South African should have to pay more than R500 a month for public transport, which would be possible if the taxi industry was formalised. It’s time for 8-million South Africans to rise up.
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