Government will officially launch the application process for operators to access the Taxi Relief Fund next year.

In January 2022, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula will officially launch the application process for operators to access the fund.

“At this launch, we will provide details of the application process, which will enable the department, with the support of the NEF, to start accepting applications from individual operators. The application window will remain open until midnight on 28 February 2022. No new applications will be accepted after this date,” Mbalula said.

This as government has resolved differences with the taxi industry on the conditions and the manner in which the funds for the Taxi Relief Fund were to be disbursed.

“I am pleased that we have since resolved these differences and have partnered with the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) to manage the disbursement of the funds on behalf of the department,” the Minister said on Monday.

In July 2020, Parliament allocated the R1.135 billion Taxi Relief Fund as a once-off payment to taxi operators to provide relief for the COVID-19 impact on the sector.

On 2 December, the Minister published Directions on the disbursement of the Taxi Relief Fund in the Government Gazette outlining the qualifying criteria for the fund.

“All taxi operators who meet the prescribed conditions are eligible to apply for the fund. This includes minibus-taxis, metered taxis and e-hailing partners, but not the e-hailing companies,” the Minister said.

The conditions which taxi operators must comply with in order to access the funds are:

They must be South African or permanent residents;

They must be in possession of a valid operating licence and

They must be registered as a taxpayer with the South African Revenue (SARS).

“The application process and the call centre will be driven by a team of young people, recruited from the ranks of unemployed youth and trained by the NEF. This project will provide them with job opportunities and skills to ready them for the job market beyond the project,” Mbalula said.

Source: South African Government News Agency