The taxi industry in South Africa is robust and highly competitive. Millions of citizens in South Africa rely in taxis to get around on a daily basis. 250 000 minibus taxis ferry more than 15 million people daily.
Minibus taxis carry millions of commuters on a daily basis, contributing to a multimillion rand industry.
Another factor that has made this mode of transport so popular and a viable business prospect for many people is that it has high profit-making potential. As a result, more people are entering the industry and employing their own drivers.
The South African industry is notorious for violence and squabbles over routes between various associations. It’s equally well-known for its controversial payment systems for drivers. Some drivers are exploited by taxi bosses and paid dismal wages.
Alpheus Mlalazi, general secretary of the National Taxi Alliance told Talk Radio 702 that drivers are paid in accordance with various local taxi associations and their operational level, and also depending on their routes.
New taxi industry minimum wages were recently announced. The increase came into effect on 1 August 2016.
According to the changes set:
Administration workers in the taxi sector will now earn R3218.57 monthly, while Rank Marshals’ monthly wages have been increased to R2564.33.
Minibus drivers are now legally entitled to earn R15.47 hourly and R742.80 minimum on a weekly basis.
Minimum monthly rates are set at R3218.57 for minibus taxi drivers.
Amin Carlsen, chairperson of Wynberg Taxi Forum told Ground Up:
“Minibus taxi drivers work on target each day. There is no basic salary.”
“We are not subsidised by government like Golden Arrow buses, so we cannot pay taxi drivers in the manner prescribed the Department of Labour.”
Wages in the sector vary widely, with some drivers taking home about R4000 a month, while some drivers in rural areas are known to make as much as R8000 per month.
Commenting on Carlsen’s response to the new taxi industry minimum wages, Mokgadi Pela, spokesperson for the Department of Labour said:
“I have never heard of this system and it sounds [like] it is a way for minibus taxi owners to evade wage increases. The increase is as a result of extensive investigation into vulnerable sectors like the taxi industry. Government has to protect workers in this sector. Every year, there has to be an increase for the workers.”