SA Taxi Council (Santaco) KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Boy Zondi, says that they plan to operate at full capacity from Monday and long-distance taxis plan to operate without permits.
“Taxis all over KZN will carry 100% passengers from Monday. The long-distance taxis should not be required to produce permits from Monday. Should any of these decisions be disrespected, we will shut down taxis throughout the province,” Zondi said in a statement.
He warned that should their members be stopped by law enforcement or traffic officers, they will shut down taxi ranks across the province.
Current regulations limit taxis to 70% capacity.
This decision follows transport minister Fikile Mbalula’s announcement that more than a R1bn in relief has been allocated to the taxi industry to help thousands of taxis and operators during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Santaco believes the relief is insufficient. On Monday this week, Santaco took to the streets to protest in Gauteng. Mbalula said that the government was not able to provide more money to taxis.
Taxi commuter Nonhlanhla Shangase from Umbilo said, “The taxi I travelled in this morning was carrying a full load. They are not thinking about our safety but to fill their pockets.”
Another commuter, Nompumelelo Sibiya from Ntuzuma, said taxis were already not adhering to the regulations “You find passengers in a taxi not wearing masks and are talking to each other. If we take a stand as taxi commuters, we can prevent this from happening,” she said.
A taxi driver who asked not to be named said, “We have been having a difficult time as we could not make money. I think it is up to all of us to work together in terms of safety to ensure that we come out of this alive.”