THE Limpopo Department of Transport, Safety, Security and Liaison has reiterated that it would continue to confiscate taxi operating permits from operators who allow party branding on their minibuses.
The department says, according to the law, minibus taxis used for transport should be white with the marking of a South African flag and the name and address of the operators on it.
It further states that operators who brand public transport vehicles are transgressing the law of the road.
Traffic officials have already confiscated permits of some taxis operating around the Polokwane area, and the department has stressed that they would continue to pounce on the culprits.
Departmental spokesperson, Kagiso Mootane, said the department has been in talks with taxi associations about the need to respect the National Land Transport Act 5 of 2009, since 2006.
“As of the Act of 1994, operators are required to comply with the requirement of this Act. The regulation of 2006 in September says every minibus which is used for transport shall be white in colour with the marking of a South African flag and the name and address of the operators” said Mootane.
She adds that an operator who does not comply with these regulations shall be guilty of an offense and upon conviction liable to a prison term not exceeding three months or a fine not exceeding R5 000.
However, the department’s decision has been met with outrage in some quarters.
The Economic Freedom Fighters in Limpopo, affected by the crackdown, has accused the department of targeting minibuses branded in their colours.
The party’s provincial secretary Jossey Buthani confirmed that the minibuses with EFF branding have had their license discs seized.
Buthani’s claims were corroborated by a taxi operator, Masego Ramano, who drives an EFF branded kombi.
He says traffic officials have already taken his disc.
“I was driving along Grobbler Street heading towards Turfloop Township when a national traffic police unit stopped me. The officers told me that we are operating illegally because our vehicles are branded with the red branding of the EFF. After explaining that, they took away my discs and said I must go to any testing stations after we have removed the branding of the EFF,” says Ramano.
The Independent Electoral Commission’s Provincial Electoral Officer, Nkaro Mateta, says the electoral body is not aware of the transport law that prevents branding of political parties on mini-buses.
Mateta says she is hopeful that the department will grant political parties relief to campaign for the August 3 local government elections.