Covid-19: Screening and testing the new normal at taxi ranks
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula said on Tuesday that screening and testing for Covid-19 will be the new normal at taxi ranks everywhere.
Mbalula, in partnership with Gauteng MECs, on Tuesday launched the testing and screening drive for the taxi industry at the Kopanong rank in Ivory Park.
“We are now at a stage where we are easing the lockdown and are embracing what we call 'the new normal', which includes wearing masks everywhere you go. This is the new way of life we are going to undertake,” Mbalula said.
The minister said the initiative will not only oversee the testing for the virus of hundreds of taxi drivers and queue marshals, but also for underlying medical conditions.
Mbalula said the government is making the necessary modalities to support the taxi industry with relief. He said announcements will be made in the coming weeks on the way forward.
“When coronavirus arrived in SA, I was on a journey and I am still on that journey, engaging with the industry to address issues of professionalising the industry. As a hard-hit industry, the government is now dealing with how much assistance it will provide. In principle we have agreed to support the taxi industry financially,” he said.
Mbalula said since the movement to lockdown level four, the transport department has undertaken a risk assessment on the state of readiness of driving licence testing centres, registering authorities and vehicle testing stations.
“This was necessary to ensure that all health norms and standards are strictly adhered to. It is on this basis that we have determined June 1 2020 as the date for the resumption of their services to the public.
“As we ease the lockdown restrictions to allow for more economic activity, today we are publishing further directions. The minister of trade, industry and competition [Ebrahim Patel] has also issued directions allowing for the resumption of car sales, which affects the services our licensing authorities render,” he said.
“The directions we will be issuing today provide that all licences, permits, roadworthy certificates and professional driving permits that expired between March 26 and May 31 are deemed to be valid and their validity period is further extended by 90 days,” he said.
Mbalula said the directions published also allow driving schools to resume their services from June 1, subject to hygiene and disinfection.