Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula says grievances by the taxi industry should not result in lawless behaviour by members of the industry.

Some taxi operators heeded the call by the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) for vehicles to transport commuters with 100% capacity.

Taxi associations have accused the Transport Ministry of failing to accommodate their concerns regarding the lockdown regulations.

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:

Full capacity

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: