Taxi industry launches first of its kind retail spare parts shop

Published Mar 2, 2024


With the taxi industry being responsible for transporting as many 15 million South Africans everyday, moving the sector into a more sustainable, united business will go a long way to keeping South African roads safe and providing the economy with a much-needed boost.

It was for this reason that taxi organisations, owners, drivers and road and transport stakeholders were in high spirits this week as they launched the first of its kind container retail spares shop in Olievenhoutbosch, Midrand.

The business initiative came about as a result of the collaborative efforts of a co-operative trading under the name “Pracza”, whose priority is to meet the needs of the taxi owners in accessing taxi spare parts within the industry.

Working with a number of taxi associations across Gauteng, the government and the Taxi Recapitalisation South Africa, the industry will commence with the sale of vehicle parts, keeping with the resolutions of the 2020 National Taxi Lekgotla during which the taxi industry and government declared their commitment to formalise and professionalise the taxi industry in an effort to diversify the industry’s value chain opportunities.

Bafana Mkhwebane, a director with the National Department of Transport, said although the minister and deputy director general could not attend the momentous occasion, they were equally proud of the step the industry was taking with the opening of the shop.

Mkhwebane said the government had for a long time sought to achieve unity within the sector but also look at how to include empowerment projects to boost the sector.

He said the plans for the retail spare parts shop were initiated as far back as 2019 when the decision was taken to scrap old taxis, as it was also decided to establish businesses on the side so that the industry could participate and take ownership of these businesses and be more sustainable.

As a matter of fact, Mkhwebane said the retail shop was one of many projects being looked into by the transport department, as they were also looking at moving taxis away from cash-based operations to cash-free, and installing an app that would help owners monitor their vehicles in real time.

“We plan on engaging the National Treasury to assist us with a budget so that we can receive the necessary funds to transfer to the industry and move these projects from pilots and roll them out nationally for the benefit of the industry and ordinary people who rely on this mode of transport.”

Visham Naidoo, Taxi Scrapping Administrator CEO, said some of the biggest challenges in the sector included the sustainability of the industry, affordability of new vehicles, the cost of finance, operational costs and changing commuter patterns after the Covid pandemic.

“Pracza represents members from six associations who will support the container and it will benefit those who support it unlike a business which only benefits the shareholders. If there is R10 profit, R7 will go back to the person that purchased it,” Naidoo said.

“In order for it to succeed and be sustainable long term we need operators to support it fully. And to do that it's important that it meets the needs of the operators by supplying spare parts, including the brands that they are getting elsewhere.”

Naidoo said the container was one of three which were pilots, with others located in Mamelodi, and in Kempton Park, with the plan being to launch as many 57 containers to ensure that there was at least one per region.

Saturday Star