Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula will submit the National Land Transport Amendment Bill to the national assembly for consideration on Tuesday (10 March), with the bill set to further regulate Uber, Bolt and other e-hailing services in South Africa.
Mbalula said that the new amendment bill not only creates a new category of operating licenses but also imposes certain obligations on technology providers not to allow illegal operators on their technology platforms.
Such conduct will be punishable by a penalty of up to R100,000, he said.
“The bill also seeks to strengthen regulations and empowers Provincial Regulatory Entities to withdraw or suspend operating license where an operator has contravened the National Land and Transport or the Roads Act,” he said.
“It further deals with issues of handling of public complaints and treatment of passengers; colour coding as well as ensuring that SAPS, metro police have not business interest in the operations of public transport.”
Mbalula said that the new amendments should also reduce conflict between a metered taxi and e-hailing drivers which has flared up in recent months.
In February 2020 the Competition Commission published its provisional report on e-hailing and metred taxis in South Africa, showing that 79% of e-hailing operators are providing a service without valid operating licences.
“In general, both metered taxis and e-hailing operators face some regulatory challenges with respect to operating licences and massive backlogs at the provincial regulatory entities (PREs),” it said.
“Backlogs are caused by, inter alia, the absence of directives by the municipalities to the PRE, limited capacity to develop integrated transport plans (ITPs) to inform the directives, general lack of capacity in planning authorities and the PREs, and inadequate stakeholder consultations.
“As in other jurisdictions, the South African regulatory regime is not yet specifically designed to regulate the e-hailing services.”