Q&A: Amaphela (informal sedan taxi’s, not minibus taxi’s or metered taxi’s)




21.      Mr G C R Haskin to ask Mr R V Carlisle, Minister of Transport and Public Works:

(a)   What is his department’s working definition of amaphela, (b) how many are estimated to operate (i) across the Western Cape, (ii) within the City and (iii) in the five district council areas and (c) what is his departments regulatory approach to these amaphela with regard to vehicle roadworthiness, overloading and driving under the influence?


21  (a)  Amaphela operations can be defined as the provision of minibus-taxi type services with sedan vehicles.  Ampahela operations should not be confused with metered taxi operations given that the fare is not determined by a meter and vehicles are not fitted with sealed meters.  Passengers are charged a predetermined fare and not a rate per kilometre.  The amaphela operators normally ply their trade in residential areas and provide feeder services to public transport facilities.  These services are also common in areas with sporadic passenger demand or areas where passenger demand is decentralised.

(b)  (i)(ii)(iii) The use of sedan vehicles to provide public transport services started the now flourishing taxi industry.  This was in response to the inability of the bus and rail mode to cater for the overall mobility needs of communities.  Since then, most operators have migrated to mini and midi-buses as passenger demand grew.  In Khayelitsha for example, most amaphela operators have migrated to higher-capacity vehicles and are now fully fledged minibus-taxi operators.

Most of these amaphela operators have not applied for operating licences in a manner prescribed by the National Land Transport Act (Act 5 of 2009)(NLTA) and the overwhelming majority of these operators are providing services without valid operating licences/permits.  This is in direct contravention of section 50 of the NLTA and constitutes an offence in terms of section 90 of the same act.

Within the City of Cape Town area, amaphela operations are concentrated within the boundaries of Gugulethu, Nyanga Philippi and Crossroads.  Given the fact that most of these operators do not have valid operating licences, it is very difficult to determine with accuracy the number of amaphela operators.  It is estimated that there are some 2000 amaphela operators in this area of which less than 50 have valid operating licences.  The City of Cape Town have supported quite a number of operating licence applications in this particular area but operators were unable to uplift these licences due to vehicles not meeting the required standards. There are also amaphela operators providing minibus-taxi type services on the route from Bellville to Tygerberg Hospital/Karl Bremmer Hospital. Similarly, there are amaphela operators providing services in the Houtbay area.

Outside of the City of Cape Town area, amaphela operations are mostly concentrated in the Eden Region (mostly Knysna/George).  It is estimated that there are some 100 amaphela operators in the Eden Region.  Most of these operators are members of minibus-taxi associations and are operating on minibus-taxi routes.

(c)  Section 62 of the NLTA stipulates that all vehicles linked to public transport operating licences must be properly licensed and in a roadworthy condition.  These vehicles must also be safe for public transport usage (section 57).  As mentioned previously, a number of amaphela operating licences were recently granted by the Provincial Regulatory Entity but most operators could not uplift the licences given that vehicles did not meet the required standards.  An operator is also not able to renew his or her operating licence if the vehicle specified in the licence is not properly licensed and roadworthy.  Where a public transport operator fails to proactively maintain a vehicle to the required standards and is regarded as a habitual transgressor of the National Road Traffic Act (Act 93 of 1996), the operating licence will be summarily cancelled using the provisions of section 79 of the NLTA.  Similar action will be taken if:

  • The operator has been convicted of an offence under the NLTA or under a law relating to motor vehicles or the regulation of traffic; and
  • In the opinion of the regulatory entity, has not carried out faithfully the conditions of the operating licence or permit.  A generic set of operating licence conditions have been developed and these conditions are imposed on all operating licences in terms of section 57(5) of the NLTA.  This includes inter-alia provisions to be compliant with the National Road Traffic Act (NRTA) and to provide services in a manner that is safe for the commuting public.

Regular enforcement initiatives have also taken place within the City of Cape Town area and a number of vehicles have been impounded for operating without valid permits/operating licences.  Fines have also been issued for infractions of the NTRA.


Date: 10 May 2012

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