Acting transport minister Jeff Radebe has said that the first batch of 18- and 35-seater taxis from the recapitalisation programme should roll out at the end of June.

Acting transport minister Jeff Radebe has said that the first batch of 18- and 35-seater taxis from the recapitalisation programme should roll out at the end of June.

reported that Radebe said government had issued the Best-and-Final-Offer (BAFO)-notification letter, informing the six bidders to build the new vehicles to prepare for the final offer process.

“The BAFO instruction letter to shortlisted bidders will be sent out to manufacturers and bidders, who will then be given a month to respond to the BAFO, giving them guarantees.”

He said the BAFO negotiations covering technical, empowerment, administration and financial issues would take approximately two months, ending in May.

Radebe said government had agreed on a minimum of 25,1 per cent equity ownership of the Electronic Management System (ESM) for the SA National Taxi Council (SANTACO).

Government plans to replace the current 16-seater taxi fleet with 18- and 35-seat vehicles. The law states that after 2006 no vehicle may operate on South Africa’s roads as a public passenger transport vehicle unless it complies with the basic safety specifications laid down by law. Operators will receive an allowance for their old vehicles.

The process started in 1999 and has been plagued by numerous problems.