Taxi associations should not violate the containment regulations, as a “war” between the industry and the government is going to hit the most vulnerable commuters.
For example, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said at a virtual media conference on Monday after the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) and other taxi associations told taxi operators to fill their taxis and not at the prescribed 70% capacity of the regulations.
The decision stems from the stalemate between the taxi associations and the government over the lifeline for the industry. The taxi associations are demanding an amount of R20 000 per taxi for the months since the restriction regulations came into force. The government says it can only afford a lump sum of R5 000 per taxi.
Mbalula asks for patience. “There is no need to cross the streets. We need to talk about this. There is no need to start a war. We need goodwill now, more than ever before, ”Mbalula said.
According to him, there were already incidents of taxis traveling long distances and 100% full. “When they were pulled over by the police, the taxi operators refused to return the money. But by law, they are not allowed to take long-distance rides.
“We have to show a little respect for the ordinary people. They are vulnerable, they have no choice. If a taxi may not be 100% full, but I’m late for work, I can’t cut it because I’m afraid I’m losing my job. If the police pull them down, who will suffer? The taxi operator goes, the commuter goes, we all suffer. “
Mbalula says he sympathizes with the taxi industry and the economic consequences of the Covid 19 regulations.
According to him, the National Command Council will this week discuss the issue of increasing capacity to 100%, and talks on subsidizing the industry will continue in the long term.
National Police spokesperson Vish Naidoo says their job is to enforce the laws. “We’ll do it when someone offends.”
Santaco national spokeswoman Thabiso Molelekwa was not immediately available for comment.