Fraud, Need for Funds and Manpower Problems Bedevil Taxi Programme

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BYLINE: BABALO NDENZE

LIMITED scrapping sites, fraud and corruption at scrapping agencies, and a lack of law enforcement are among the major problems the government is facing in its R7.7-billion taxi recapitalisation programme.

The Department of Transport has tabled its challenges, interventions and targets in parliament for the 2008/09 financial year.

In its presentation, the department said it had financial challenges as the demand for funding had exceeded its expectations. It also had internal capacity problems.

The South African National Taxi Council and the National Taxi Scrapping Agency also took part in the presentation.

The director-general of transport, Mpumi Mpofu, said R2.2bn had been allocated for law enforcement, compliance and other elements.

The department had initially "concentrated on scrapping without focusing equally on the law-enforcement aspect".

Now that the scrapping phase was established, focus would shift to law enforcement, Mpofu said.

Department spokesperson Collen Msibi confirmed that the R2.2bn put aside was intended partly for law enforcement.

He said the department was finalising a strategy to deal with law enforcement in the taxi industry.

The department said it would discuss the programme's needs with the treasury, shift certain funds, establish a panel of experts, scrap old taxis according to age, and investigate all fraud and corruption allegations. …