Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele met the National Taxi Alliance (NTA) in Pretoria on Friday, the ministry said.

“We, both as government and the taxi industry, want to move from an environment characterised by conflict to one based on trust,” the minister said in a statement.

Ndebele said he was confident a national joint working group formed at a meeting earlier this month with the taxi industry would resolve all outstanding matters about the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.

The BRT system has raised the ire of taxi bosses, some of whom have felt it threatens their livelihood.

At the meeting on June 11, 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.

Earlier this week, the NTA said it wanted full ownership of the BRT system.

The alliance said it had developed the routes the BRT system was targeting.

“The taxi industry is therefore justified in claiming intellectual property or goodwill on the taxi routes and taxi ranks,” said the alliance’s secretary-general Alpheus Mlalazi.

On Friday, Ndebele said once the working group had sorted out “outstanding issues, we can then proceed to the real issue, which is ensuring the meaningful participation of this sector… in the economy of South Africa”.

Ndebele said he had never understood why the black-controlled industry remained on the margins economically.

“The taxi industry must become part of the mainstream of our economy and ensure the empowerment of our people.

“Transport operators must broaden their participation to include areas such as rail, freight and logistics and aviation services.” – Sapa