Taxis back on Gauteng's roads following Santaco shut down

Taxi drivers were ferrying passengers in the morning as they hoped to make up for the losses of Monday’s strike.

FILE: People queue for taxis at the Baragwanath taxi rank. Picture: Kgomotso Modie/EWN

SOWETO - Taxi drivers at the Bara taxi rank in Soweto said they were back at work on Tuesday morning not because they had accepted government’s relief fund, but because they understood the importance of the service they offered to South Africans.

Operations were in full swing at the taxi rank in Diepkloof after Monday’s shut down by the South African National Taxi Association (Santaco) in Gauteng.

Taxi operators rejected the R1.1 billion relief fund from the Department of Transport, saying it translated to only R5,000 per taxi and they needed R20,000 per vehicle.

Taxi drivers were ferrying passengers in the morning as they hoped to make up for the losses of Monday’s strike.

One driver said it was important for taxi drivers to be back behind the wheel again.

He said they were considering the needs of South Africans to ensure that they got to work, while they continued with negotiations with government.

“It doesn’t mean that we have accepted government’s relief funds, but we are back at work this morning because our customers need to get back to work and school. We are thinking about their needs,” he said.

The drivers said the stay away had dented their already thin finances. Taxi bosses said they also wanted government to allow them to load their vehicles to full capacity, despite COVID-19 social distancing regulations.

“If government does not assist us with this relief fund, about 40% of our vehicles here in the province are going to be repossessed by the banks. Our commuters will be left stranded for a longer period,” said Midday Mali, spokesperson of Santaco in Gauteng.

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