Taxi bosses have taken the bold step to form a political party, which seeks to address the endless challenges facing their industry.
The Alliance for Transformation for All (ATA) intends to be the voice of reason for those in the taxi business.
ATA held a media briefing at Kuwait taxi rank in Site C on Tuesday November 13, to make known their plans and mission.
But the taxi bosses have highlighted that as much as the party has been formed based on the challenges they face, they were not locking the door for people outside the industry to join them.
They argued that the party seeks to advocate for the rights of small businesses and also address the countless socio-social issues.
These taxi bosses have all agreed that the taxi industry has been marred by killings, taxi violence, reckless driving and rudeness of taxi drivers towards their commuters.
However, the taxi bosses said that should not deter the community from voting for them as they have plans in place to address such issues.
ATA provincial chairperson, Mandla Wiseman Mata, said over the last year or so it has been extremely difficult to run their businesses as the government has implemented many policies which do not favour them.
Mr Mata said they had requested the government to subsidise the taxi industry so that they did not have to bear the brunt of paying back heavy loans and could have perhaps reduced the taxi fare.
He said they had tried to raise their concerns with the relevant officials over the years but feel their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
He said they wanted transport policies to be accommodating to their industry.
He said the taxi industry was the only business sector owned and operated by black people.
But unfortunately, he said, it has been a mammoth task to grow because the government has failed dismally to develop the industry and assist them.
He said one of the things that forces the drivers to be reckless on the road was the pressure to meet their daily targets.
Mr Mata said this party strives to be the voice of the many people who have been silenced.
He said the only thing that the government wants to do is take over their business. “We are feeling the pain hence we have opted to launch our own party. We are a political party that caters for all the needs of the people. We have different taxi associations that have endorsed this party. We are going to contest each and every election. Our rights have been violated and needs have been neglected. We are soft targets for the government. Our taxi drivers don’t even have provident funds or UIF benefits. The ticket fines that we are getting are way beyond our control. Our sin is to run this industry,” he said.
Provincial treasurer Charlie Zolile Ndoda, said he has been in the industry for over 40 years and it has been difficult to run his business.
Mr Doda said this political party has been founded on the values and principles of improving the lives of taxi operators and the public in general.
He said they witnessed the suffering of their people hence they reached a decision to start such a political party to drive their needs.
He said they wanted their voices to be heard.
Provincial coordinator Nelly Tom, said this party seeks to advance the needs of everyone involved in the taxi industry but not forgetting other pressing challenges facing the country.
She said they wanted to improve the livelihood of the people of South Africa and firmly believe that they have the skills and capability to do so.