Two hundred new minibus taxi vehicles that will play a role in the ongoing effort to renew South Africa’s ageing minibus taxi fleet have arrived at the Durban Port from China over the past three weeks.
The vehicles, imported from three different manufacturers in China, are part of a steady stream of about 250 vehicles imported on a monthly basis. They will be financed by leading vehicle finance banks in South Africa, including the predominant financiers of Chinese minibus taxi vehicles, Johannesburg-based minibus taxi finance house, Bridge Taxi Finance.
South Africa’s taxi industry plays a vital role in the country’s economy, accounting for over 70% of all public transport trips and is the most widely used form of public transport in Africa. Over 15 million South Africans make use of minibus taxis to get to and from work every day. An efficient public transport system is a core enabler of a country’s economy, critical to development. Investment in this sector is essential to support economic growth.
“For the sake of the thousands of South Africans who rely on minibus taxis for transportation every day, we have a responsibility to constantly renew and upgrade the quality of the minibus taxi fleet on our road,” says Vincent Raseroka, chairman of Bridge Taxi Finance.
Bridge Taxi Finance has secured R100m as part of a R800n fund raising programme to buy minibus taxis to continue to support the renewal of South Africa’s ageing taxi fleet. A large number of minibus taxis are in need of replacing. Many are older than the seven years that are prescribed by law, and in an unroadworthy condition, with some having travelled more than one million kilometres.
The Chinese-made vehicles are manufactured to South African specifications, and comply with the highest vehicle manufacturing standards in the world. They will play a significant role in the ongoing process of renewing the minibus taxi fleet in South Africa.
The South African government taxi recapitalisation programme now includes Chinese-made vehicles. “With around 60 000 Chinese-made taxis on South African roads, the government has recognised the need to include them in the recapitalisation programme,” says Raseroka.
The latest shipments to land in South Africa include twenty 14-seater Golden Dragon vehicles produced by Xiamen Golden Dragon in China. This was one of the first Chinese minibus taxi to be imported into South Africa in 2005 and has a proven track-record for its reliability. Another shipment of sixty 16-seater Foton minibus taxis was produced in and shipped from Qingdao Province in China, while the third shipment of 100 minibus taxis were imported through Jinbei South Africa which is part of the Brilliance Auto stable in China.
The vehicles will be transported to Johannesburg by Grindrod Logistics, from where they will be distributed to various dealer networks.