'I am losing R2,100 from one load': A taxi operator counts the cost of suspended PSL matches

01 April 2020 - 13:40 By Ofentse Ratsie
Football fans arrive in taxis at FNB Stadium in Soweto for a match.
Football fans arrive in taxis at FNB Stadium in Soweto for a match.
Image: Kaizer Chiefs /Twitter

These are desperate times for the men and women who transport fans to the stadiums and they have been struggling to make ends since the Premier Soccer League (PSL) suspended matches last month due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Kaizer Chiefs‚ Orlando Pirates‚ Mamelodi Sundowns and many other sides in South African football help taxi operator Pogiso Chombo put food on the table and he said the suspension of PSL matches has had a devastating effect on his life.

"It has badly affected our weekly and weekend planning because we know that come Tuesday and Wednesday‚ there are games taking place somewhere in Pretoria or (Johannesburg)‚" he said.

"If the lines are not busy (at the taxi rank) that's where you generate more money to cover up lost checking [money].

"Look I drive from Jo'burg or Pretoria to Rustenburg daily and I (usually) have a number of people who are guaranteed to be at these matches.

"It is so stressful (without PSL matches).

"I am feeding so many people (at home) and now there are no longer any opportunities to earn that extra money on the side.

"I can't even transport school pupils (because the schools are also closed).

"Now this thing [coronavirus] has stopped me from transporting football supporters to the stadiums.

"There's no overtime in the taxi industry and you earn as you go‚ so the minute there is a virus like this one‚ everything dies.

"Imagine‚ I am losing R2‚100 from a one load during a week from Rustenburg to Orlando Stadium.

"On Saturday I would be going to Pretoria with the Mamelodi Sundowns supporters‚ and that usually earns me R2‚380."

Chombo‚ who resides in both North West and Gauteng‚ said the suspension of matches has also affected the bets he usually places on results every week.

"Now there's nothing to bet on because there are no PSL or even English Premier League games‚" he said.