The minibus taxi industry on Tuesday called for full ownership of the Bus Rapid Transit system.

“Government must allow the taxi industry to own BRT in its entirety,” National Taxi Alliance secretary-general Alpheus Mlalazi said at a press briefing in Johannesburg.

The taxi industry had developed the routes the BRT system was targeting, he claimed.

“The taxi industry is therefore justifiable (sic) in claiming intellectual property or goodwill on the taxi routes and taxi ranks.”

Mlalazi said if the government did not begin negotiating with the NTA on these terms, there would be protests.

“In July if we fail to meet with the minister [Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele], we will embark on a protest march to deliver a memorandum of grievances.

“After seven days if there is no response we will hold a stayaway… if that [negotiations] doesn’t happen, it will escalate.”

Earlier in June Ndebele announced the formation of a joint working group on public transport to deal with the industry’s concerns over the BRT system and other issues affecting the sector.

At the time, the government said negotiations on how the industry would become involved in the business side of the BRT system would take place mainly at local level, focusing on the taxi workers affected by the system.

The BRT system raised the ire of taxi bosses, who felt it threatened their livelihood.

The industry also expressed concerns that the government had asked it to register its routes and then proceeded to place the new bus system on those same routes without consulting it. – Sapa