Johannesburg could use the Rea Vaya rapid bus transit system during the Confederations Cup tournament next month, although taxi industry concerns have yet to be addressed and talks continue.
While the June 1 start date was unlikely to be met, the city could still put the buses and newly built dedicated lanes to use, said Rehana Moosajee, member of the mayoral committee for transport.
â€œIt would be purely an events service,â€ she said on Friday. â€œEven if we did that, there would also be a need to use taxis as well.â€
President Jacob Zuma put decision making on planned bus systems in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban on hold last month in response to taxi industry concerns. While road infrastructure work has continued, decisions on the value chain of peripheral businesses came to a halt.
Sicelo Mabaso, a member of the cityâ€™s Rea Vaya steering committee, agreed with Moosajee. â€œIt may start on an ad hoc basis,â€ he said. Moosajee said help was needed to ensure disgruntled taxi operators did not disrupt the service. â€œThatâ€™s something on which the various spheres of government will make an effort to get a broad consensus,â€ she said.
A lobby group that shot to prominence over resistance to Rea Vaya in Johannesburg, on Friday outlined its plans to become a national body.
The United Taxi Association Forum (Utaf) was signing up members across SA, and would make the state-recognised South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) irrelevant, spokesman Joe Mphuting said.
â€œItâ€™s now going to become â€˜Nutafâ€™. That N will stand for â€˜Nationalâ€™,â€ he said. Santaco â€œcould just die their natural deathâ€.
Santaco secretary-general Philip Taaibosch laughed at the claims.
â€œPeople who have made claims of being national structures including (rival) National Taxi Alliance, they have never proven to be national structures,â€ he said.
Taaibosch, under fire for not having responded earlier to membersâ€™ concerns about the bus networks, said Utaf leaders were mobilising discontent over Rea Vaya to take over the steering committee.
â€œThey want to see themselves in the committee â€¦ itâ€™s about peopleâ€™s interests, rather than the interests of taxi operators on the ground,â€ he said.
Mabaso said Utaf could not recall him as he was appointed by his regional association.
â€œI donâ€™t know how they will replace me when they are not in my structure.
â€œI canâ€™t see members of Congress of the People removing (Gwede) Mantashe as secretary-general of the ANC.â€