IN QUOTES | 'People wear masks in taxi ranks': 5 responses from Mbalula to parliament

12 November 2020 - 14:30
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula.
Image: Fikile Mbalula/Twitter

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula says there is compliance from taxi commuters, who wear masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in taxi ranks.

Responding to questions from members of the National Assembly on Wednesday, Mbalula said the department had also held meetings with stakeholders in the industry to raise awareness about the virus and measures that can be taken to prevent its spread and transmission.

The minister added that the government subsidises the department with alcohol-based sanitisers.

Here are five telling quotes from the minister's responses to MPs:

Why the R1bn funding for the taxi industry

“The taxi industry was given the R1bn intervention because they are not formalised and are not exposed to all the resources government has put at the disposal of South Africans, particularly small businesses. The coach liners do qualify for the government relief. The taxi industry does not qualify because they are not wholly registered as a business.”

The formalisation of the industry

“We discussed formalisation [during the lekgotla] and we agreed on regulating the industry. The commuter is central. That is why in terms of our subsidy, we agreed that the subsidisation that will kick in from April 1 2021, in terms of our envisaged implementation plan, will focus on alleviating the commuters who use taxis as a mode of transport.” 

Compliance 

“People do comply, they come with their masks to the taxi ranks. The question of enforcement of that relies on the taxi marshals and drivers. In certain instances, this has not been done, but society as a whole has heard the call by the government that the only way to safety from Covid-19 is to sanitise and at the same time to use a mask.”

Moving freight of goods from roads to rail

“The freight policy includes maximisation of the use of railways to limit the usage of roads for freight movement. The challenge is that though the current railway system is highly effective for transportation of bulk commodities, it does not offer services for short and break-bulk cargos. This [is an] inadequacy towards the policy intention of promoting rail freight as a means to reduce road freight congestion and limit the usage of the roads.”

Infrastructure development

“The infrastructure programme focuses on ensuring that we upgrade and revitalise the rail network, which is underutilised, through concession with the private sector, to also improve on the rolling stock. Those plans will go beyond the next financial year.” 

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