SATSA’s legal team is now in possession of all relevant statistics and background and is prepping for a court case against the Department of Transport around the delays in issuing operating licences via the National Public Transport Regulator (NPTR) – a pre-COVID-19 legacy issue that is a major barrier to tourism.
This follows the completion of an informal survey by the industry body to determine the current impact on the sector. The survey results – conducted amongst 109 operators, representing 687 vehicles – show, amongst others, that (out of the 109 operators) a total of 74 operators have vehicles that cannot be used legally.
Here are some other sobering statistics from the NPTR survey:
- As a direct result of the NPTR delays, the respondents (operators) sold 50 vehicles and held back on purchasing 153 new vehicles.
- 189 new vehicles are currently needed to meet demand, but operators cannot get operating licenses.
- Of the 687 vehicles, 206 cannot be used legally and are standing idle.
- There are also new reports of traffic officials fining operators even when the process was followed correctly.
- Since the survey was launched last month, a total of 45 fines have been issued, and 18 vehicles impounded.
- Operators, with guests on board, have been stopped 114 times and harassed or questioned by officials.
This is but a small snapshot of the industry said SATSA COO, Hannelie du Toit, as many in the industry did not participate in the survey. “But it provides good insight into the plight of the sector.”
Du Toit is confident that the court case will be lodged soon, noting that SATSA continues to lobby to ensure these delays are addressed as a matter of urgency.
“Having suffered for many years at the hands of bureaucracy, red tape, lack of capacity, lack of understanding the tourism industry, the NPTR overstepping its mandate and ignoring offers of assistance from private sector, coupled with its continuous inability to issue Operating Licences, SATSA has no choice but to continue with legal proceedings,” she said.
Funding urgently needed
SATSA has, to date, raised R130 000 (€6 989) to fund its legal battle and is calling on operators to contribute and amount of R1 000 (€53) per vehicle towards the legal costs.
The money is ring-fenced in a dedicated account with oversight by SATSA. Funds raised cannot be used for anything other than the ongoing efforts to solve the NPTR problem.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how to contribute.