Regulated Set against Unregulated Minibus Taxi Industry in Johannesburg, South Africa—A Contested Terrain: Precariousness in the Making

Siyabulela C. Fobosi


The minibus taxi industry moved from being heavily regulated before 1987 during the apartheid to the period of deregulation in 1987—which led to an increasing number of taxi operators—to the introduction of the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme (TRP) in 1999 with the purpose of transforming the industry. The TRP was—and continues to be—an attempt to respond to the problems and failures of the regulation process. Regulation of the minibus taxi industry is important to ensure that the industry operates according to the laws of South Africa. However, while this is so, there is an increasing number of illegal operators within the industry. This paper is situated in the broader context of my PhD thesis which investigated the impact of the TRP on precarious working conditions within the minibus taxi industry in Johannesburg. Using qualitative research methods, I conducted a total of fifty-eight interviews for my thesis. Results portrayed that most of the minibus taxi operators in the industry continue operating illegally, and thus making it difficult for the state to regulate. Regulation in the industry is sociologically-defined by two categories: social regulations and economic regulations. The industry remains unregulated and situated within the informal sector.

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