Attention: President Thabo Mbeki

23rd May 2003

Dear President,

It is with regret that SANTACO informs you that due to our grave dissatisfaction about the way that government has handled the whole Recapitalisation Program, we have been left with no choice but to withdraw completely from this project and let government continue to implement the program on its own.

Just last week, SANTACO issued a statement to announce that its members would start a program of mass action to show SANTACO'S dissatisfaction and disapproval of the way that the recapitalisation program has been dealt with by government, nearly to the total exclusion of SANTACO. In the same statement, SANTACO stated that it was still committed to government policy on recapitalisation.

That was before we came to know what government's plans are in terms of the best and final (BAFO) offer documentation issued to bidders at the end of the week.

Our worst fears have been realised.

We have been marginalised from a program that we the taxi industry initiated. Our own program to uplift ourselves has been hijacked and given to those who government decides are relevant BEE players.

We were not even given a copy of the BAFO document, not to mention being part of its preparation. The present position, in simple terms, is government's way of nationalising the industry and taking it over. Our Executive Committee was not elected to be lackeys of government; we were elected to be partners of government. This, we regret, has proved to be impossible to achieve.

SANTACO has decided that it will have nothing more to do with Recap. We have been delayed and played with for too long. We will announce our own rollout plans for our own Taxi Recap program within days as well as our own Reserve Bank approved EMS system. We will furthermore continue with our mass action program as earlier announced to bring the facts of this debacle to the attention of the public and to show our utter distaste for the way we have been robbed of our future by government.

SANTACO hopes you will note that we have utilised every possible avenue over a two-year period to resolve this issue without causing embarrassment to anyone. Our attempts ranged from discussions with officials, MINCOM, Parliamentary Standing Committee, right up to the National Council of Provinces. We have pleaded and begged verbally and in writing. We have put forward views on how we can escape from this growing crisis. We have been given assurances and promises repeatedly. Officials however continue to treat us simply as the beneficiary of favours, if it suites them, and not as a partner.

The SANTACO National Executive Committee has requested that I draw your attention to the fact that this decision has not been taken lightly. Nevertheless, due to the continual exclusion of SANTACO from any meaningful participation in the Empowerment Program for the Taxi Recapitalisation, we have been left with no alternative but to take this action.

SANTACO's National Executive Committee states without fear of contradiction that the situation in the taxi industry is the worst it has been for 30 years. Sadly, we have to admit that SANTACO's oppo8ition in the taxi industry, that small group that refused to democratise and legalise, that protested to the Presidents office were indeed correct about Recap all along. Government was never serious about involving and empowering the taxi industry.

The time for action is now. We do not plan to fail our members the way they have been failed by government.

Yours sincerely,