Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)
Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Government has politicised Covid-19 intervention, says taxi alliance

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Jun 24, 2021

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Pretoria – The National Taxi Alliance (NTA) says it has been sidelined from Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s plans to tour hubs in Pretoria and inspect compliance with Covid-19 rules, despite being a key stakeholder in the sector.

In a media alert, the Department of Transport said Mbalula and acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni would be joined by the Gauteng provincial government head of roads and transport Jacob Mamabolo and Health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi to monitor compliance at various Pretoria taxi ranks.

On Thursday, the NTA said it had not been invited to the event because it had been critical of the government. It accused officials of playing politics in their Covid-19 interventions.

“The National Taxi Alliance is once more sidelined in the ministers’ plan of visiting taxi ranks in the Gauteng province,” spokesperson Theo Malele said.

“Clearly, the Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula, is myopic by ignoring a critical stakeholder and compromising the health of law-abiding citizens. NTA commands a much greater support in Gauteng province by far and yet it is not invited to the event.”

Malele said the NTA had been pushing for the government to vaccinate role-players in the taxi industry, arguing that they were also front-line workers.

“We are not amazed because… (we) advised the president (Cyril Ramaphosa), after announcing the roll-out plans for the vaccination of critical front-line workers and omitted the taxi industry. It has been us again who have been complaining about the non-payment of the Covid-19 relief fund,” said Malele.

“We have litigated the office of the minister and his department. No wonder we're snubbed, without taking the lives of the committing masses into account. The minister is playing politics even when not necessary.

“It's for the country to notice the kind of leaders who would stop at no cost to protect maladministration and the death of unsuspecting people.”

Figures released on Wednesday showed that 17 493 new Covid-19 cases were identified in South Africa, compared to 11 093 reported on Tuesday.

This brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 1 861 065, which represents a 24.9% positivity rate, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

Most of the new cases, 62%, are in Gauteng, followed by the Western Cape with 10%.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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