Concerned by the growing rate of road accidents partly caused by inexperienced drivers, SA’s biggest drivers Association SANTACO says it plans to make new changes on how to operate on roads.
According to the organisation, the new changes might include the introduction of provincial training centres and a new certificate as a possible prerequisite for all drivers who want to ply the South African roads.
Speaking to the media on the matter, SANTACO spokesperson, Thabisho Molelekwa said about 3,000 drivers and operators have already passed the new training which pays much attention to customer care and road safety rules.
The new certificate meant to be given to drivers who successfully complete the programme, has been tabled before state government as a way to help regulate parts of the industry and improve public relations.
Molelekwa also confirmed that plans were already on board to ensure that the current driver’s training centre in Welkom is made national so that the association’s members could complete their training close to where they currently operate.
“Those who have been trained will act as an inspiration for those who do not currently have a certificate,
“These drivers will also be recognized at the new South African National Taxi Awards where we will have awards for the best driver nationally, the best driver provincially etc,” said Molelekwa, pointing out that the transformation would take time and would not be a cheap process.
“It takes a lot for one driver to go through all the training, which includes proper customer care, road safety, conduct etc. With 300,000 members around the country we are looking at nothing less than R1 billion needed to complete the initiative.”
The report of new changes in the transport sector came at the time, a number of women were reportedly raped in less than three weeks in taxi-related incidents in and around Gugulethu.
Zoleka Mali, a counsellor at the Mosaic Centre for gender-based violence cases confirmed this saying: “The first woman was on her way to work. She got into an Avanza taxi. Two people were in the taxi, so she wasn’t worried. She said when those people got out, the driver drove to a quiet place and raped her.”
A #SafeRide campaign was later launched as a partnership between gender rights group Sonke Gender Justice and the South African National Taxi Association Council (SANTACO).
The aim of the campaign is to address the high rate of sexual violence in the taxi industry. The initiative was piloted in Pretoria and the plan is to visit several taxi ranks across the country.