Santaco wants answers on impact of COVID-19 on commuters

Santaco says Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement about taxis would have a massive impact on drivers and millions of commuters.

FILE: Taxis at the Germiston taxi rank. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG/ CAPE TOWN - The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) on Monday said it would be meeting with Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to assess how travel limitations on commuters using public transport could be handled.

So far, 61 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in South Africa.

Santaco's president Phillip Taaibosch said the impact of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement specifically about taxis would have a massive impact, not only on drivers, but also on the millions of commuters who rely on the mode of transport to get to work every day.

“We are going to seriously look into what can be done to remedy this situation. We are going to try by all means send a message to all, including taxi drivers.”

Among measures announced by the president are the prohibition of gatherings of more than 100 people and the cancellation of large events and celebrations.

"We further discourage all non-essential domestic travel, particularly by air, rail, taxis and bus," Ramaphosa said in his address.

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At the same time, the World Health Organisation on Sunday said five African countries recorded coronavirus infections through community spread.

The droplet-spread respiratory infection has claimed the lives of more than 5,700 people globally.

Twenty-two countries on the continent have recorded coronavirus cases.

Ramaphosa announced South Africa's borders will be closed to travellers from countries with high numbers of coronavirus infections.

WHO regional head for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti said: "Government is striking balance in terms of focusing on countries where there is local transmission but also keeping in touch with the data to see if other countries that need to be added."