KZN taxi owners throw their weight behind Santaco and will fill taxis to 100%
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Durban - The local branch of the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) said from Monday they would be filling their taxis to 100% instead of the Disaster Management regulation of 70% to help curb the spread of Covid-19.
Recently, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced a R1.135 billion relief package for the taxi industry, with each taxi owner receiving a once-off payment of R5 000 for each taxi.
Mbalula said some had called for R20 000 a taxi, which was impossible.
KwaZulu-Natal Santaco chairperson Boy Zondi said the decision was made after Mbalula said aeroplanes could travel with full capacity while taxis would remain at 70% capacity.
“The council in KZN took a decision to fill all taxis from Monday and those travelling long-distance will not be asked for permits. If we follow the 70% regulation, taxi operations will grind to a halt,” said Zondi.
KKZN Transport Alliance Revived secretary general Bafana Mhlongo called on all their members to load passengers in their minibus and midi-bus taxis to 100% of capacity from today.
Mhlongo said they supported the Covid-19 relief of R20 000 per taxi as proposed by the National Taxi Alliance.
“The announced relief by the minister of transport is nothing but a slap in the industry’s face as it does not include minibus taxi drivers, assistants and rank managers. We therefore support R20 000 per taxi as a relief fund.”
eThekwini Metro Taxi Council secretary Mathula Mkhize said they, too, would be operating with full capacity taxis. Mkhize said they would be joining Santaco because of postponements, agreements and arrangements from the government.
“We’ll stick to the normal routine. Other transport modes have been allowed to have full loads – what’s different from a plane and a taxi?” Mkhize asked.
KZN Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Bheki Ntuli said they were committed to providing the taxi industry with the necessary support, but warned that those found violating the Covid-19 regulations would face the full might of the law.
“As the provincial government we are open to engagements with all stakeholders, including the taxi industry, to address any issues of concern. The taxi industry is part of the consultations that are taking place at a national level to address concerns raised by various sectors that have suffered financial losses as a result of Covid-19. I have engaged law-enforcement agencies in the province to develop a comprehensive plan of action in anticipation of any anarchy or violation of the Covid-19 regulations and rule of law.”