Government on Thursday scrapped its taxi recapitalisation tender process but vowed that the revised project would be implemented over the next seven years.

Government on Thursday scrapped its taxi recapitalisation tender process but vowed that the revised project would be implemented over the next seven years.

Transport minister Jeff Radebe said an evaluation of the four bids received indicated that the original programme was unaffordable to both government and the taxi operators.

DaimlerChrysler SA, Iveco, Kwoon Chung and Tata had submitted bids to manufacture the new taxis and electronic management system to the Department of Trade and Industry specifications in 2000.

The minister said that specifications relating to the safety and seating capacities of the taxis would have to be followed when the vehicles were bought. This meant that any vehicle manufacturer could now produce these taxis, provided they complied with the new safety specifications.

These requirements would be released within three months. Vehicles would no longer be restricted to a seating capacity of 18 and 35 seats.

Radebe said the recapitalisation process would be implemented from the beginning of the 2005-2006 financial year, and would be phased in over a seven-year period.

It is estimated that the government will need to pay R7,7 billion over a five-year period to replace the existing fleet of ageing taxis. Radebe said government would pay a R50 000 scrapping fee per taxi to help operators upgrade their fleets.