Roadblock blitz nets 56 overloaded taxis ignoring lockdown rules
The transport ministry reported on Friday that 146 lockdown-related roadblocks were conducted around the country on Thursday at which 17,395 vehicles were stopped.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula said authorities also prevented 341 cars from entering or exiting provincial borders without the requisite permits, comprising 231 cars in Gauteng, 86 cars in Mpumalanga and 24 cars in the Eastern Cape.
A number of public transport offences relating to the Covid-19 lockdown were recorded, including 56 minibus drivers who failed to observe the maximum 70% limit on passengers, and 32 e-hailing providers who were caught carrying more passengers than permitted.
Other offences included 10 drivers failing to wear masks, two drivers failing to sanitise their vehicles after offloading, and two operators attempting long distance or interprovincial travel. Two operators attempted to provide cross-border passenger transport.
On Friday Mbalula also reminded public transport operators that operating hours will return to the morning and afternoon peak times from Saturday.
The five-day grace period for social grant recipients comes to an end and public transport operating hours will be as follows:
- 4am-5am: Empty taxis are permitted to make their way to collect commuters.
- 5am-10am: Taxis are permitted to ferry commuters at 70% licensed capacity
- 10am-11am: Buffer; all outstanding commuters must be dropped off and taxis parked.
- 3pm-4pm: Empty taxis are permitted to make their way to collect commuters.
- 4pm-8pm: Taxis are permitted to ferry commuters at 70% licensed capacity.
- 8pm-9pm: Buffer; all outstanding commuters must be dropped off and taxis parked.
Mbalula hit back at criticism that the transport ministry was “lowering the bar” in the measures it had introduced.
He said the adjustment of capacity from 50% to 70% in respect of the taxi industry and morning operating times of buses and taxis from 9am to 10am was informed by material conditions on the ground.
“One of the key unintended consequences of the 9am cut-off time in the morning was that a significant number of people get left behind in shopping malls because some of the stores like pharmacies and banks only open at 9am,” he said.