Taxis belonging to the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) say they will continue loading at full capacity on Tuesday morning.
This after a meeting was held with the Santaco leadership and Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on Monday.
Santaco and the National Taxi Alliance announced at the weekend that they will begin operating at 100% capacity from this week, as they say they have received little co-operation from government.
SANTACO means businesses xem. The taxi I’m in is 100% full. I honestly thought they wouldn’t go ahead with it🙆♀️#taxishutdown
— BERNECIA (@Bernecia) June 29, 2020
Meanwhile, long queues are beginning to form at taxi ranks in Johannesburg as many commute to work in early Tuesday morning traffic.
Taxis belonging to Santaco say they will continue loading their vehicles to the maximum capacity. Taxi drivers belonging to United Taxi Associations Front say they will comply with government regulations and load at 70% capacity.
Some drivers say they do not want their vehicles impounded on the road for flouting lockdown regulations.
All passengers entering taxis continue to wear face masks while this seems absent with many drivers.
On Monday, taxi operators in Johannesburg continued to load their vehicles to full capacity in defiance of the COVID-19 national lockdown regulations.
In terms of the lockdown regulations, taxis are mandated to load 70% passenger capacity. Taxi organisations said with the reduced load capacity, they are unable to make ends meet including repaying the installments on their vehicles.
SABC News on Monday afternoon visited the Bree Street Taxi Rank in downtown Johannesburg and commuters were seen sitting close to each other, making it impossible for them to observe social distancing. Passengers were wearing masks as per COVID-19 regulations.
Commuters told SABC News that while they sympathise with the plight of taxi operators, they are also concerned about their own health and safety, especially with Gauteng’s infection rate increasing.
In the video below, Santaco briefs the media:
However, Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula says grievances by the taxi industry should not result in lawless behaviour by members of the industry.
Mbalula says his department is working on assisting the industry.
“Can we achieve these things by a state of lawlessness? No. You are setting yourselves on a collision course with law enforcement, which is the state, and in that instance, the law will have to be maintained. You are daring the law and the authority of the state. There is no need to do that and I don’t know who said we are fighting the taxi industry. Do I want law enforcement to clamp down on the taxi industry? No. Government had got to come to the party. We in the department have taken the proposal to the NCCC (National Coronavirus Command Council).”
In the video below, Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula addresses a press briefing: