THE Limpopo Department of Transport has outlined plans for its R2,106 billion budget for the year, with the taxi industry getting special attention.
MEC Makoma Makhurupetje said her department would speeding up the process of issuing operating licenses to the taxi industry.
“Apart from servicing other transport services, the department is servicing 127 taxi associations with 7 789 registered members operating 10 690 taxi vehicles operating licenses,” she said.
In an effort to assist the taxi industry, the department has put aside R5 Million for the Limpopo Taxi Council in an effort to assist the industry with the administration and transformation.”
She said the department remained committed to working with the industry and following consultation with SANTACO and other stakeholders, the issue of high impound fees was raised.
“I’m busy finalising a plan of consultations with the aim of reviewing the impound fees. We also hope to convene a taxi indaba during October transport month as part of the measures to strengthen this sector but also for the purpose of looking into a variety of challenges,” she said.
Some of the identified challenges are over route disputes, taxi violence, the issue of hitchhiking, operating permits and accessibility of departmental service points.
Makhurupetje also spoke about plans to improve taxi rank infrastructure across the province. She said the Thohoyandou Intermodal Facility which was built at R260 million will be completed in the first quarter of the 2018/19 financial year.
She further unveiled plans to stabilise the Gateway Airport Authority Limited.
“GAAL over the past few years had four boards of directors and four different CEOs at different times. The department with the assistance of Provincial Treasury has now taken charge of the situation and is well on the way of stabilising GAAL. A new board of directors has been appointed for three years,” Makhurupetje said.
She said the aim was to develop GAAL into a self -sustaining entity that contributes to economic development of the province. Government will inject R53 Million into the entity.
“During the financial year, we will be transferring an amount of R43.4 Million to the entity in order for it to fulfil its mandate. In the main, these funds are allocated to manage and maintain the operations of Polokwane International Airport. R3 Million is budgeted for maintenance of runways, taxiways, landing lights and flood lights,” she said.
The department will also embark on skills development with 250 unemployed youth expected to be absorbed into Traffic Law Enforcement. The automotive repairs and maintenance will absorb 12 young people.
Makhurupetje announced that the budget would increase over the next three years. For 2019/20, the budget will be R2,199 billion going up to R2,327 in 2020/21. The bulk of the funds will go to transport operations.
MEC Makoma Makhurupetje. Picture: Lebogang Makwela / Visual Buzz SA