The City of Cape Town welcomes the convening of the National Taxi Lekgotla that is currently underway. We commend the Minister of Transport, the Director-General of Transport and the National Department of Transport for the bold and innovative thinking outlined in the draft position paper titled ‘Operation Khawuleza – Reimagining Public Transport Delivery’.

The draft paper provides innovative starting points for the investment that is required to improve the Minibus-Taxi (MBT) sector and its integration with other modes of public transport. The latter is a pivotal element of our integrated public transport networks, as was highlighted by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his keynote address at the Taxi Legkotla yesterday morning.

The focus on investing in the industry through recapitalisation and incentives to transport passengers to trunk routes (called a transport incentive), and improved service quality, is welcomed. As is the emphasis on using technology and an integrated ticketing approach to help drive the transformation of the minibus-taxi industry. This initiative will be strengthened with a new public transport strategy that reflects the new thinking and a revision of the MBT regulatory regime.

The City has been working with the MBT industry in Cape Town to support such integration and service improvements, and is piloting some crucial innovations in partnership with local taxi associations.

A transfer incentive supported by an electronic ticketing system as proposed by Operation Khawuleza is a key mechanism for the integration of minibus-taxis into the multi-modal network. For integration to succeed, however, other factors are as important, including appropriate infrastructure, good urban planning, sound design and effective management of the street and interchanges, and engagement at a local level with the minibus-taxi industry to enable reform. Metropolitan governments are primarily responsible for all of these elements.

The City of Cape Town, therefore, notes that as custodians of urban integrated public transport networks – both in terms of legislation and the Constitution – South Africa’s city governments will be at the coalface of implementing the Operation Khawuleza vision. We need to be involved right from the start in developing this programme, and are looking forward in doing so with the National Government and the minibus-taxi industry.

We are committed to working with all spheres of government, with the minibus-taxi industry, and other municipalities to fast-track the design of appropriate pilot projects to operationalise Operation Khawuleza at scale.