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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Time well spent learning from a man of Nagel's Calibre. David Lipschitz letter to the Cape Times published Wed 29 Jun 2016

Thank you for publishing my letter regarding the taxi industry last week, and for publishing Mr Nagel's reply on June 24. I accepted his invitation for coffee as requested in his letter.

On Monday, at 4.30pm, Mr Nagel ("rhymes with Bagel") and I met at Mugg & Bean at Cavendish Square for "coffee". Actually he had scrambled eggs on toast and a cappuccino and I had a cheese and tomato omelette without toast and with camomile tea.

We spoke for two hours.

Please note that Mr Nagel said that I could write about "everything" he told me.

In our time together, I learnt about 50 years of the private "black" taxi industry in South Africa, from the days of Valiants to the apartheid government's insistence on the introduction of their own buses to transport township folk from the outlying townships that that government had created, to the cities, and then to the taxi industry saying that there weren't enough buses, and then to the change from Valiants to the kinds of minibus taxis we see today.

It was a fascinating journey for me. Mr Nagel's family has been in the taxi industry for three generations and Mr Nagel himself for 42 years. I met an open and honest man of integrity.

One of the things that Mr Nagel is upset about is that the ANC government has not undone the wrongs of apartheid planning regarding the taxis. "Routes" and "radiuses" are still the same as they have always been. Opportunities for the taxi industry to work with the Post Office have been missed.

We both believe that there is huge scope for the advancement of the taxi industry in South Africa, and for the taxi industry to be a catalyst that gets South Africa moving again.

Thank you for publishing our letters, and for helping to make this meeting happen.

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