Santaco on business as usual, safety measures and rejecting that R1.3bn offer
The SA National Taxi Association (Santaco) on Sunday announced it would start operating at full capacity on Monday to make up for losses suffered by the industry during the lockdown.
The association’s president, Philip Taaibosch, detailed a plan of action during a media briefing.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula later pleaded with the industry to reconsider this decision. He said while his department had expressed support for the review of resuming operations at 100%, taxi operators must heed the law until an official decision is made.
Bending the rules
Taaibosch said taxis will start operating at full capacity and will also resume long-distance travelling.
“The Santaco leadership must inform their structures that as from June 29 [Monday], all taxis must load 100% capacity, whether or not the minister approves. All long distance travelling must resume operations as from June 29. We are also indicating that no permits will be required from passengers who board long-distance taxis.”
Taaibosch said passengers will be screened, required to wear face masks and sanitise their hands before boarding taxis.
“Wearing of face masks in taxis will be compulsory in terms of the law, and there must be sanitisation of taxis and commuters. For long distance operations, marshals must ensure that all boarding commuters are screened and recorded, and that a proper filing system is kept safe.”
Taaibosch said loading restrictions were a compromise that came at a cost for the taxi industry.
“The 70% was merely a compromise. It is critical to note the taxi operator was not making any profits from this. Our commuters expected us to sanitise vehicles in terms of government regulations and ferry them to their destinations without fail. We did that and were the only mode of transport which had not received any subsidy from government.”
He said the industry still maintains it will not accept the R1.3bn relief fund offered by government because it does not make up for the losses made by the industry in the past three months.
“The industry does not accept the relief fund offered by government. We feel that for the sacrifices that the industry has endured since the lockdown started, the offer is a clear demonstration of what this government thinks about the taxi industry.”
Taaibosch urged taxi operators not to overload their vehicles.
“Associations must ensure taxi drivers do not load beyond legal capacity. If the vehicle says 15 passengers, the vehicle must not exceed the numbers on the vehicle certificate.”