Gauteng commuters could be without transport as Santaco goes on strike

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Thousands of Gauteng taxi commuters could be without transport to take them to and from work on Monday as Santaco members plan to suspend services due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) relief funding amount offered by government.

Taxi owners in Gauteng say the R1.1 billion in assistance for the industry is totally inadequate.

Commuters say the strike will have a negative impact on their jobs. They say their companies have adopted a no-work, no-pay policy since the start of lockdown.

“The taxi strike is going to affect us as commuters and now we have to be absent from work because of transportation. I’m worried because I saw on social media that there will be no taxis and since the start of COVID-19 companies have adopted no-work, no-pay policy,” says one of the commuters.

In the video below, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announces relief for the taxi industry:

Meanwhile, the Top Six Taxi Association, affiliated to the National Taxi Alliance, says they are not part of the strike that is planned by Santaco in Gauteng.

Top Six says it awaits an outcome of a meeting between their leadership and Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on Tuesday.

Top Six chairperson Nhlanhla Tshabalala says their leaders will discuss their grievances with the Minister and hope to reach consensus.

“After their meeting with National Taxi Alliance, it’s thereby NTA will go back to their affiliates and say this is the outcome of the meeting, see whether it’s satisfying and if not we will pave a way forward together with National Taxi Alliance,” says Tshabalala.

Government says arriving at a decision to give the industry relief support wasn’t easy.

“We literally had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to reach this amount, because we believe the taxi industry is deserving of support as the largest mover of our people. We must equally appreciate that government has limited resources, which must equally benefit all other sectors. It is for this reason that none of the relief packages equate to compensation for losses, but rather limited support to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The reality is that there is no more money available beyond what the government has offered,” it says.

Provincial Transport MECs, Executive Mayors of Ethekwini and Ekurhuleni and MMCs from Johannesburg, Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City Metros held talks on Sunday to discuss this.

Minister Mbalula explains government’s quagmire in the audio below: