Some of the Makhado Long Distance Taxi Association's members parked at the taxi rank at Eltivillas.
“No one has informed us on how we are going to run our business during the 21-day lockdown period. We only heard (about it) over the radio, but we are not sure what is going to happen,” said Mr Chris Makananise, secretary of Makhado Long Distance Taxi Association (MALTA).
Makananise’s statement follows the announcements made by the Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula on Wednesday, 25 March, during which he tried to explain the lockdown implications for the transport industry.
Mbalula’s statement reads: “As part of the relief measures for small business in distress as announced by the president, those taxis that have been financed by the National Taxi Finance (scheme) administered by the Small Enterprise Finance Agency will be granted a three months repayment holiday. Commercial banks are also considering similar measures,” he said.
Minibus-taxis will be allowed to transport essential services workers and those allowed to make the necessary permitted movements. “Transport movements in this regard will be allowed to operate from 05:00 to 09:00 and again from 16:00 to 20:00,” Mbalula said.
Mbalula also advised operators to put measures in place to adhere to social distancing in order to curb the spread of the virus. All minibus-taxis must be sanitized after every trip and all taxi ranks must be sanitized at regular intervals.
Makananise said that he is not sure whether the system will work for MALTA as they operate over long distances. MALTA’s routes are from Louis Trichardt to Musina, from Louis Trichardt to Polokwane and from Louis Trichardt to Lephalale. “I am still going to find out from the SMME website whether this will work for us,” said Makananise.
Date:26 March 2020 - By: Bernard Chiguvare
Bernard Chiguvare is a Zimbabwean-born journalist. He writes mainly for the online publication, Groundup.