By Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works:
The Provincial Regulatory Entity (PRE) in the Department of Transport and Public Works is currently considering 343 applications for operating licences which have been supported by the City of Cape Town, 201 of which are applications from Uber partners.
The PRE will meet next week to finalise its decision.
Regarding the current batch, the PRE must apply itself to each and every application. This is as important for commuter safety as it is for the responsible management of the meter taxi industry. It is essential that operations within the industry are regularised to promote fairness and to avoid conflict.
The Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town are in support of new and innovative ways of providing safe and reliable public transport, provided that this is within the current legal framework.
Those vehicles that are being pulled over and either fined or impounded by traffic law enforcement authorities, were pulled over because they were in contravention of the law by not being in possession of the required operating licences. Traffic law enforcement has a duty to act against any public transport operators, whether they be metered-taxi operators, mini-bus taxi operators, or Uber partners, where they fail to comply with the law and operate without an operating licence.
The City of Cape Town and Uber have agreed that Uber partners will apply for metered taxi operating licences while amendments are effected to the National Land Transport Act to accommodate this new mode. In line with these discussions with the City, Uber partners have applied for metered taxi operating licences and these applications have already been published for comment.
The National Land Transport Act is clear in what it requires when public transport operators are operating a service for monetary gain, and that is a valid operating licence. Normal applications for an operating licence must be made as prescribed by the law, for operators looking to provide a public transport service.
The National Land Transport Act (Act no.5 of 2009) contains the following definition of a public transport service:
“public transport service” means a scheduled or unscheduled service for the carriage of passengers by road or rail, whether subject to a contract or not, and where the service is provided for a fare or any other consideration or reward. Where this is the case, section 50 of the NLTA applies in that no person may operate a public transport service without holding the required operating licence or permit. Any operation in contravention of section 50 of the NLTA constitutes an offence and a fine may be imposed (see section 90 of the NLTA). The vehicle may also be impounded in terms of section 87 of the NLTA where same is operated without a valid operating licence or contrary to the terms and conditions of the operating licence.
Applications for such operating licences, whether they be for a metered taxi or otherwise, must therefore be completed and submitted together with a tax clearance certificate, copy of the applicant’s ID/company registration certificate, Form 10 (in respect of criminal record) and relevant supporting documents.