Zakes Bantwini & L'vovo weigh in on Covid-19 taxi industry relief as Gauteng strike hits

22 June 2020 - 09:00 By Kyle Zeeman
Zakes Bantwini asked the president about Covid-19 relief for the entertainment industry.
Zakes Bantwini asked the president about Covid-19 relief for the entertainment industry.
Image: Jessica Levitt

As the taxi industry ground to a halt in Gauteng, musicians Zakes Bantwini and L'vovo Derrango  weighed in on government's R1bn relief fund for the industry, which is at the centre of the strike.

Commuters were left stranded across Gauteng on Monday after the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) protested against the relief package.

TimesLIVE reported the council said in a letter it was “ expecting at least R20,000 per vehicle”, but would receive a lot less from the Covid-19 relief package announced by transport minister Fikile Mbalula.

Mbalula announced on Friday that R1.135bn would be given to taxi operators.

Zakes responded to the package, pointing out how much the sports, arts and culture department had received in relief and asking the president what the entertainment industry had “done wrong”.

“Taxi industry: R 1.1bn relief fund. Entertainment & Sport: R150m. President Cyril Ramaphosa, what have we done wrong as the entertainment economy? Senzeni?”

L'vovo added his voice to the outrage, sarcastically suggesting that artists were just meant to keep people entertained and not ask questions.

“We are 'just entertainers'. What are we gonna do with money? We must just pop up and sing and dance. Awu izinja madoda,” he said.

Speaking to TimesLIVE, Santaco provincial spokesperson Midday Mali claimed the industry had been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and needed urgent and adequate assistance from government.

“Government must urgently speak to the banks to stop harassing our members to repossess their vehicles during this difficult time of Covid-19.”

He said the strike would be peaceful  as taxi drivers would keep their vehicles stationed at taxi ranks and not ferry any commuters. However, there have been reports of commuters being intimidated.