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WC Transport MEC not surprised by Santaco move to defy lockdown regulations

Taxi body Santaco said that government's R1.1 billion relief fund was not enough and branches in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal have now called on drivers to ignore those regulations and operate at full capacity.

Taxis at a Gauteng taxi rank being disinfected as part of measures to protect public transport commuters from contracting COVID-19. Picture: @vm_africa/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - An empathetic Western Cape Transport MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela said that he was not surprised by a move within the taxi industry to defy lockdown regulations by loading at full capacity.

The taxi industry has lost millions of rands since government implemented restrictions that stipulate taxis can only load to 70% capacity to ensure social distancing.

Taxi body Santaco said that government's R1.1 billion relief fund was not enough and branches in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal have now called on drivers to ignore those regulations and operate at full capacity.

Madikizela said that the taxi industry agreed to abide by government's lockdown restrictions because it was only meant to last for a few weeks.

"You cannot lock people down in perpetuity with the challenges we are facing in South Africa."

Madikizela said that it was important to strike a balance when it came to the lockdown.

"The anxiety, the depression, the hunger, the domestic violence... those things are what's killing our people instead fo the virus itself. So the importance of striking the balance between making sure that we adhere to the protocols but also making sure that people are able to put food on the table."

He added that the patience of South Africans has been tested to the limit.

"It has come to a point where people are actually saying: "Hang on, do I suffer in silence under lockdown with nothing to put on the table or do I take a risk and take care of myself."

EWN understands that Santaco in the Western Cape is not joining Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal branches in encouraging the action at this stage.

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