Taxis are allowed to operate at 100% capacity on local trips while 70% capacity is allowed for long distance trips, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in his address to the nation on Sunday evening, 12 July.
He outlined that taxi drivers must adhere to Covid-19 health protocols including screening, sanitising procedures, social distancing and the use of personal protection equipment.
The president also confirmed the ban and the sale of alcohol and its distribution. He said there will be a new curfew from Monday, 13 July in place between 9pm and 4am, except for emergencies.
It was also announced that Ministers who serve in the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) would brief the media on Monday regarding government’s further plans to combat the spread of Covid-19 in South Africa
Last month, the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) threatened to operate all taxis across the country with a full load whether government approved or not, of which Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula disapproved.
For a number of weeks now, the taxi industry has reiterated that they would not accept government’s Covid-19 relief fund package, while an increase on taxi fares in Gauteng has already been implemented on 1 July.
The council argued that taxi owners needed R20,000 per taxi per month that lockdown has been in place, which would total to R4-billion.
Meanwhile, Santaco president Philip Taaibosch has also expressed the council’s concern regarding the registration of taxi operators with the South African Revenue Service (Sars).
He said that all legal taxi operators across the country who possess an operating licence has a Sars tax clearance certificate.
“Our proposal to the minister was that since this is the case, why doesn’t government use the licence as a qualification criteria instead of creating a complicated process for the applicants. If the issues is about general formalisation, which we do not dispute, we are saying do it as phase two.”
On operating licences, Taaibosch said according to Mbalula, Santaco requested that receipts be considered as proof that operators have applied for operating licences, however, the council disagreed.
“We reject his assertion that government has been considering to even accept receipts as part of application for relief. We want to express that government does not have a choice, but to accept these receipts because these receipts are the creation of government deficiencies.
“Operators mainly here in Gauteng, have been waiting for their operating licences for no less than a year. The licensing system in Gauteng has been a problem for years, leaving many operators without the necessary legitimate documentation.
“It is for this reasons we want to challenge the Minister that in the event these operators who have waited for years do not get their licences, Santaco will have no choice but to approach the courts for intervention. It is unfair for operators to be punished for a waiting period that is outside the legislation.”