Taxis continue with full capacity loading

Taxis were working at full capacity Monday morning at Bara Taxi Rank in Soweto. Santaco on Tuesday confirmed that it would continue to load passengers at 100% capacity.
Taxis were working at full capacity Monday morning at Bara Taxi Rank in Soweto. Santaco on Tuesday confirmed that it would continue to load passengers at 100% capacity.
Image: Tankiso Makhetha

Taxis will continue to load at full capacity despite the industry's meeting with minister of transport Fikile Mbalula yesterday.

The meeting was aimed at resolving the standoff between taximen and Mbalula.

The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) yesterday confirmed that it would continue to load passengers at 100% capacity and to undertake interprovincial trips in direct violation of lockdown regulations pending an outcome of a decision by the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) tomorrow.

Thabisho Molelekwa, Santaco spokesperson, told Sowetan that part of the resolutions they had with Mbalula was to stop public spats that have played out over the past week between both parties.

"We agreed to meet with the minister on Thursday after he has met with the NCCC on which day he will try to persuade them on the points we brought forward during our meeting with him on Monday," Molelekwa said.

"We also agreed that we will continue with operations within the parameters of safety measures imposed and he will allow his department to do its determination on how that can be done," he said.

On Monday, minibus taxis around the country began loading passengers up to the maximum capacity for the first time after three months of lockdown imposed due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

In March, minibus taxis were instructed by government to carry under 50% passengers to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

This was later eased to 70% as the economy was slowly reopening.

Santaco has rejected government's R5,000 relief fund offer per taxi to make up for losses incurred. It demands R20,000 per taxi.

Ayanda-Allie Paine, Mbalula's spokesperson, said he indicated that the matters raised have already found expression at the NCCC and are being deliberated upon.

"Minister Mbalula pledged to provide the taxi industry feedback on the decision of the NCCC later this week," she said.

National Taxi Alliance's (NTA's) general secretary Alpheus Mlalazi said they had not made a decision on a way forward as the NTA leadership was due to meet today.

"At the moment it would be premature for us to make any pronouncements."

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