The SA National Taxi Council and new transport minister Joel Sibusiso Ndebele held an introductory meeting in Pretoria on Friday.

Santaco secretary general Phillip Taaibosch said another meeting at which the Bus Rapid Transport system would be on the agenda for discussion had been scheduled for June 8.

Taaibosch said Friday’s meeting at the department’s offices in Pretoria was a general meet and greet: “We didn’t discuss the BRT.”

However he said June’s meeting would be an “open” one where industry issues such as the role of taxi owners in the new system would be discussed.

BRT has been described as a high quality customer orientated transport system, which would deliver fast, comfortable, and low cost urban mobility.

It involves the construction of “bus way corridors” on segregated lanes, with modernised technology.

Taxi operators have said they feel threatened by the new system.

However the transport department has repeatedly assured taxi bosses there would be no job losses and that the taxi industry would be the nucleus of BRT.

In March taxi drivers went on strike, insisting that ANC president Jacob Zuma address their problems.

Zuma then backed a proposal to put the implementation of BRT on hold, pending further consultation.

“I am supporting what was proposed, that we hold horses for now and then we come back,” Zuma said to Santaco.

Taaibosch said the meeting in June was intended to pick up from their last meeting with Zuma.

“I must indicate one is satisfied with the promise made by Jacob Zuma.”

He said Zuma had given a “very clear directive” to the new minister: “You go out there and deal with all outstanding issues and reach consensus.”

Taxi operators wanted to be given a time frame for when the BRT programme would be implemented in a way that was inclusive of the taxi industry; “so that the taxi industry can become the real owners of this…

“For instance in construction, in bus stations, in all those things that form part [of the BRT system] we want to be part of it.

“We want to be part and parcel on negotiations around it”. – Sapa