Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says government has offered the taxi industry over R1.1 billion in relief packages due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown which led to the loss of income. Mbalula was speaking during a virtual press briefing in Midrand, Johannesburg.

He says public and private road operators have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the video below, the government says that it will assist the taxi industry during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Mbalula says relief will be provided as a once-off payment to taxi operators.

“We have agreed to provide relief to the industry in the form of a once-off ex gratia payment to taxi operators. It should be emphasised that this is not compensation for loss of revenue as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. R1 billion has been set aside to assist the taxi industry. The government proposal on the taxi relief support had taken the following into consideration: relief will be accessible to all taxi operators irrespective of affiliation.”

However, Mbalula says the taxi industry has rejected the government’s relief offer of saying it’s not enough. He says, unfortunately, government will not increase the offer.

“Is the R1.135 (billion) accepted? Of course, it won’t be accepted. The industry told me in my face that they don’t agree with that and I have told them that we will not move and I have gone back to government to look at an increase. Government will not move on that R1.135 (billion) and we need to get back to business as quickly as we can.”

In the video below, SANTACO rejects the government relief package for the taxi industry. 

Meanwhile, Minister Mbalula says the OR Tambo, Cape Town and King Shaka airports have been reopened, with a limited number of services available.

He says measures are in place to mitigate the spread of the virus onboard aircrafts.

“We have opened the Golden Cycle limited service; which is OR Tambo, Cape Town and King Shaka. It will be 100% occupation on board in terms of the airlines. Among other measures that we have taken is the High-Efficiency Particulate Air Filters in all the airlines to help mitigate the spread of the virus on board. We have intensified measures such as sanitation on board and compulsory fitting of masks to all passengers on board.”

In the video below, Fikile Mbalula briefs the media on government relief for the taxi industry.