Taxi operators appeal to government for on site COVID-19 screening, protective gear

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Taxi operators in Mahikeng in the North West have appealed to the government to deploy health workers at taxi ranks to screen commuters for coronavirus.

They also need protective gear for drivers and sanitisers for passengers and vehicles because they have to practice good hygiene and stick to regulations as stipulated by the government.

This is in line with efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Nearly two weeks into the national lockdown, challenges persist. Taxi operators in Mahikeng say while they have tried their best not to exceed the 70% limit for the maximum number of passengers allowed on a single trip – they face great health risks – because they have no personal protective gear.

Mahikeng taxi rank committee chairperson Nthutang Kgarane says, “I want health officials to come to the rank and scan people every day and every morning, and give them masks, gloves and sanitisers. I plead with the government to change the time from 5 o’clock to 9 o’clock, to be 6 o’clock until 11 o’clock. From 9 o’clock until 4pm they wait for 6 hours and it means there is no income.”

Some taxi operators say the losses they’ve incurred since the lockdown seem to far outweigh the dangers posed by continuing to work.

Taxi operators say they will continue to practice precautionary measures to protect themselves against Coronavirus.

E Cape hands out sanitisers and masks to taxi drivers

In Eastern Cape Transport MEC, Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe is overseeing the disinfection of taxi ranks around the province. On Tuesday she will also be in Makhanda, not only disinfecting taxi ranks but giving taxi operators equipment such as hand sanitisers and masks.

-Report by Keadimilwe Moalusi