After recently rejecting the government relief package for COVID-19, saying it is insufficient to cover losses, the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) has ordered its members to defy the 70% passenger capacity regulation.
SANTACO also said long-distance Transport should also be allowed to operate and no Taxis shall be impounded until their demands are met.
Mr Philip ‘Dash’ Mahope (32) is one of the taxi drivers in Tshwane- Soshanguve, he said, ‘‘the lockdown has affected a lot of taxi owners because since the lockdown we have not been generating sufficient income and there is nothing to make up for the losses.
“As much as I wish to load 100% passenger capacity as suggested by SANTACO, I am afraid to do so, because the virus here in Tshwane is rapidly increasing every day.
“Our lives matter more than anything else, I know SANTACO is trying to save our economic status and I am not completely against it as I do not hold a solution to save our business from this economic strain. But the plan to fully load the taxi is very dangerous, it will cost many lives,” Mr Mahope said.
One of the Tshwane commuters Ms Angelinah Shandu (36) From Soshnguve block- XX said, ‘‘the taxi bosses should not allow this risk of loading 100% passenger capacity when we are facing this pandemic here in Pretoria and in the country as a whole.
“The Coronavirus is now at its peak and it is too risky to fully load the taxi, taxi bosses should just focus on taxi fare increase only, which is going to be effective on the first of July next month here in Soshanguve. Otherwise, some of us would be scared to use public transport fearing to contract the coronavirus as taxis would be full,’’ she said.
Responding to the demands outlined by SANTACO, Transport Minister Mr Fikile Mbalula, said, ‘‘I appeal to the leadership structures of the industry to reconsider their decision to incite lawlessness and place their drivers and passengers on a collision course with law enforcement authorities.
“While we have expressed support for a review of loading capacity to 100%, until the current directions have been revised, the legal loading capacity is 70% and enforceable by law,” Minister Mbalula said.