Mahikeng taxis defy lockdown regulations

2020-Mar-29   10:20

Mahikeng taxis defy lockdown regulations
The lockdown, which comes with strict movement rules, was ordered by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday to try and reduce the rapid spread of COVID-19 or coronavirus.
Source: Thabang Morutloa/Newsnote

- Thabang Morutloa

The lockdown, which comes with strict movement rules, was ordered by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday to try and reduce the rapid spread of COVID-19 or coronavirus.

One of the rules of the lockdown was time restrictions for taxi operators who are only allowed to operate from 5am until 9am and again from 4pm until 8pm. They're also only permitted to carry half of the passengers the vehicle is legally allowed to take.

Vice-chairperson of the Mahikeng-Mmabatho taxi route, Thami Ntekele, said taxi owners' priority is to make profit.

“My taxi takes up to 15 passengers so if I’m supposed to only take seven it means if I take two loads my profit for the day will only be R180. How am I supposed to provide for my family with that amount?,” Ntekele said.

Ntekele added that the protection of passengers is government's responsibility.

“Shops are currently operating. If it was a national lockdown, how come shops are open? If the shops were closed by 9 O'clock we would also stop our taxis from operating because it’s a total shutdown," he said.

Ntekele also implied that if there was any seriousness ahout the lockdown, the taxi industry would have been provided with the necesary tools to protect drivers and passengers.

"Another thing is that we were not provided with safety equipment for me to sanitise passengers as they enter our taxis and for me to use as a driver for my people to arrive safely to their destinations. There's nothing provided for us. We had to buy them from our own pockets, which means the government has failed us,” he said.

Meanwhile department of community safety and public transport management officials held a meeting with taxi owners in Mahikeng to stress the lockdown requirements and the importance of abiding by them.

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