Business as usual as taxis defy coronavirus regulations
The SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) in KwaZulu-Natal had opted to operate as normal, at 100% capacity instead of 70%, after Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula refused to increase the R1.135billion taxi relief amount and postponed many meetings with taxi councils and associations.
It was normal operations for most of the province with only a few protests.
Santaco KZN office manager Sifiso Shangase said they had not faced major issues on Monday.
“Only KwaMashu had an issue where taxis blockaded the road, but there were discussions around that and how tickets will be handled,” said Shangase.
“There were roadblocks where the police used force and issued tickets of more than R1000. Others (police) did not have any issues and let us through.”
He said Santaco would continue operating this way because all they wanted was to get the government to meet them halfway. They did not want to gamble with people’s lives.
“If the government had met us halfway, we wouldn’t be here,” said Shangase.
Bhekisisa Nzuza of Durban Long Distance Taxi Association said they had taken the law into their own hands and were operating at full capacity and had ditched permits because the government had failed them.
“We’re transporting 15 and we’re going to all provinces.
“Our buses are carrying 22, and permits are irrelevant to us right now,” said Nzuza.
He added that they did not want the R5000 the government was offering them for relief.
Yesterday morning taxis blockaded the M25 towards Inanda, KwaMashu and Ntuzuma, near the Sasol garage.
Ward councillor Pete Graham, who was at the scene, said the incident created extra traffic congestion on the R102 but the police were on hand and got traffic flowing again.
“They (police) deployed two stun grenades and drivers dispersed and the vehicles were removed from the roadside,” said Graham.
He said it was “a bit messy” in the morning, but he heard that the taxis would be back.
According to the Umlalazi Municipality, a taxi protest had blocked the R66 between Eshowe and Nkwaleni. The municipality’s disaster management team, Road Traffic Inspectorate and the SANDF intervened.
Metro Police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad said the taxi blockade on the M25 took place at the same time as an accident, so there was congestion.
Sewpersad said nine taxi drivers were fined for contravening the Road Traffic Act.
He said they managed to open the road and taxi owners met with Metro Police where they were told it was about road traffic offences.