The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) has warned Law Enforcement Agencies that if one vehicle is impounded for loading at 100% capacity and travelling to other provinces, they will bring the country to a standstill.
Santaco President, Phillip Taaibosch has also demanded that all taxis that were impounded at the start of the lockdown be released.
“We are aware that law enforcement will want to impound our taxis. Our vehicles have been impounded since day one of the national lockdown with a charge of at least R5 000. Tomorrow (Monday) we will not accept any form of impoundment. Operators will have no option but to park all their taxis countrywide until the impounded taxis are released and we are allowed to continue with our work.”
The National Taxi Alliance (NTA) has joined Santaco in its decision to load taxis to 100% capacity despite lockdown regulations restricting them to 70%.
NTA Secretary-General Alpheus Mlalazi says they will withdraw their services if members are harassed by law enforcement authorities. He says NTA members will act within their legal permits.
In the video below, Santaco warns of a national shutdown:
However, some taxi drivers and owners say they will continue to abide by the law and cannot risk having their vehicles impounded.
“I am not loading 100% but 70%. The only person who can tell me to load 100% is Fikile Mbalula. So if he did not I will follow the order. I do not want my taxi to be impounded. It is very expensive,”says a taxi driver. – Additional reporting by Phanuel Shuma