By Edwin Tshivhidzo
The Department of Labour calls on taxi operators to register with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) before the month end deadline.
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) is currently offering tax amnesty to small businesses including taxi operators with a turnover of R10 million. The amnesty is set to expire on 31 May 2007.
The UIF?s spokesperson, Kgomotso Sebetso, explained that it became compulsory for taxi owners to register their businesses and employees with the UIF from 01 July 2005 following the introduction of the Taxi Sectoral Determination.
The sectoral determination also extended social protection to taxi drivers, administrative staff, rank (queue) marshals, fare collectors and cleaners.
"This means that taxi owners are liable for monthly UIF contributions for their employees from that date onwards.
"However, in terms of the tax amnesty, taxi employers can register with the UIF without being punished for non-registration of the past,' Mr Sebetso said.
He further urged taxi operators countrywide to approach any of the Department of Labour offices to register and avoid the last minute rush to beat the deadline.
"Taxi employers will not only be avoiding the last minute traffic, but also be avoiding penalties, high interests and in some instances possible jail terms,' Mr Sebetso said, adding that non-compliance with any of the provision of the Unemployment Insurance Act (UIA) is punishable with a fine or imprisonment or both.
According to the UIF official statistics, only 4 856 taxi employees and 3 145 taxi employers have registered.
"We expect this figure to drastically increase at the end of this month as most taxi owners have already started registering their businesses and employees in large numbers,' he said.
"UIF officials have been busy over the past three months assisting taxi employers to comply with the law,' Mr Sebetso concluded.
Earlier this year, the department reached an agreement with Gauteng Taxi Council (GATACO), which is one of South African National Taxi Council's biggest affiliates and taxi operators to register with UIF.
At that time, only 5 000 of an estimated 135 000 taxi drivers in the country, were registered with the UIF.
According to the department, the UIA and Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act apply to all employers and workers.