The impact of public policy on competing interests : a case study of the taxi recapitalization programme.
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This study is an investigation of the impact of public policy on competing interests in the case of the South African Taxi Recapitalization Programme. I explore this through a theoretical framework of implementation theory which includes the concept of broader public participation in policy formulation and implementation processes and the significance of a bottom-up approach in decision-making. I employ a qualitative methodology comprising fieldwork interviews, surveys and focus groups. The findings of this study show that for the recapitalisation programme to achieve its objectives of regulating the mini-bus taxi industry, conditions that enable interests to access, bargain and influence decision-making must be redefined. Broader representation has to be encouraged in order for diverse interests to be reflected in policy outcomes and for implementation to be effective. This includes the recognition of other taxi organisations, the integration of the taxi industry into the legal frameworks of the Department of Labour, a structural and functional transformation of the Transportation Board and the application of an innovative violence reduction framework which includes an effective route-regulation and route-based operating-license system. This also requires the introduction of a taxi industry-specific minibus fleet, a comprehensive taxi driver-training programme and, possibly, subsidising the taxi industry. If the TRP does not become the framework through which the taxi industry is comprehensively regulated, violence is curbed and road accidents that include mini-bus taxis are drastically decreased, many more lives will be lost, thus contradicting the principal objective of commuter safety.