If you could set a question to your future self last year, never would you have imagined that the possibility of that question would have been “What will you do in lockdown?”. South African’s all over the country are settling into what most are calling “a tough” 21 days ahead. It’s difficult to apprehend how reliant citizens are when it comes to public transport in South Africa, it’s an easy and cheap method to get to your destination.
Today the Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula has addressed the media on the measures that are being taken during this “national disaster”.
“We have ensured that last night, at midnight, there was a lockdown on transportation in the airspace. Services in terms of flights were seized to operate” said Mbalula
The first major challenge the Minister has addressed is the method in which the “essential workers” can arrive at their destination. If you are working in banks, supermarkets and hospitals then you fit under the workers with “essential needs”. Mbalula went on to say that 60% of South Africans require transport and if we go over that number then the reason for the lockdown has been undermined.
Taxi drivers facing hardships, questioning the reasoning
Life as a Taxi driver has been described in the past as “hard work” and “chasing your money”, during these times the drivers will be facing extreme difficulties financially as their income has been cut.
Many drivers have questioned the regulations that are currently being enforced and the response from Minister Mbalula was firm in saying “We can’t change the regulations on the first day, we need to evaluate the regulations to see if they help us achieve the reasons of the lockdown. – We appeal once more the taxi owners to understand, public transport in general is shut down, there is only a provision and that is limited to essential workers”
“Transport is responsible for the spread of this particular disease because we transport people in the air, in the sea and the ground. The zero person who were infected came through the airlines in South Africa” said Minister Mbalula
At this time Minister Mbalula is happy with the progress of the rail service and as of today the railway has been shut down and no trains are moving.
Minister Mbalula had concerns with those in the Limpopo area undermining the lockdown and has addressed the media by saying that increased law enforcement will patrol the area to halt prohibited activities.
“Increased operations when it come to law enforcement in Limpopo to those that are undermining the lockdown”
Also Law enforcement will be ensuring that “Only freight and cargo is allowed to cross the borders to Zimbabwe” in an attempt to prevent further infections in and out of the country.