Gauteng Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo says the taxi industry’s level of compliance with the lockdown regulations is remarkable. Mamabolo and the Tshwane metro administrator, Mpho Nawa, visited the Mabopane Taxi Rank north of Pretoria, to inspect compliance and sanitising of the rank.
The Mabopane Taxi Rank is one of the largest ranks within the City of Tshwane. It is a hub for taxis taking commuters to various destinations in cities such as Pretoria, Johannesburg and the neighbouring provinces.
Mamabolo says despite some glitches, a lot has been achieved in terms of compliance with the lockdown regulations.
“Yes, and let me also add, another innovation we are seeing here is the use of drones to spray public places. That’s remarkable. That’s another way of partnership we have with the private sector. One of the things that we must commend the taxi industry on is the 70% loading capacity requirement. That’s been remarkable, but we still have rogue elements in the industry that are using that old way of hide and seek with the law. We must warn them and say we are a country run in the principles of the rule of law. So, we are a law-governed country.”
Drones and a walk-in booth were among mechanisms used to sanitise people at the taxi rank:
However, taxi operators say they still encounter some challenges in covering the costs of sanitizers as their business has been severely affected by the lockdown regulations.
Patrick Sekete, one of the concerned drivers, says, “We have a problem with sanitizers. We don’t know where to get them and this is very expensive since we are no longer allowed full loads but half loads. We don’t have money and there’s no business.”
On the other hand, the City of Tshwane authorities believe that the sanitising of taxi ranks needs more effort and enough personnel.
“I think what I am taking home from here is that we should keep cleaning, not only when officials come. And I think I should suggest to the office that we should have cleaners on a full-time basis where we can hire because during this COVID-19 many people are losing their jobs,” says City’s administrator, Mpho Nawa.
Representatives of both local and provincial taxi groups shared similar sentiments, though they commend their drivers and commuters for co-operating.
“What we’ve achieved so far is that divers and commuters are wearing their masks and we are keeping the social distance. We adhere to loading requirements,” says Gauteng National Taxi Alliance’s Mpho Motsepe.
South African National Taxi Council Mcdonald Makata says, “In the beginning, we had challenges, but up now, we did try to educate our commuters about the virus. By now, there’s a commitment from them as well.”
Mining companies among them Anglo Ashanti, and numerous other private companies have joined hands with government in supplying chemicals to disinfect taxi ranks. Some are even coming up with innovative measures like the use of drones to keep the number of workers to a minimum.
The graphic below shows lockdown regulations during Level 4 lockdown: