Mbalula: 100% loading capacity being discussed

Mbalula: 100% loading capacity being discussed

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has again assured taxi operators that the coronavirus command council is discussing the possibility of increasing load capacity.

Fikile Mbalula
Photo Cred: Fikile Mbalula

Mbalula spoke in Soshanguve, west of Pretoria, on Monday afternoon after disgruntled taxi drivers blocked roads with burning tires and police fired rubber bullets. 

The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) in Gauteng embarked on strike action on Monday, with drivers demanding more money from government to compensate for the loss of income during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Thousands of commuters had to find alternative transport or miss work as taxis refused to operate amid its disagreement with the government over its COVID-19 aid package. 

Mbalula announced a R1.1 billion aid package on Friday, but taxi associations claim this is not nearly enough to cover the whole industry.

Mbalula told drivers that he always wanted full loading capacity, but was advised against it.

READ: KZN taxis will operate as usual, for now: SANTACO

"The numbers in terms of how many in the taxi are the numbers that were defined by the health measures that were recommended and we placed it before the taxi industry and all of us and all of them agreed.

"In fact, there was no relief issue on the table, I brought the relief, and I went to government, and I motivated for a relief, but it was a goodwill.

"By tomorrow we are addressing that, it is before the command council and I will pronounce on that. I am the first to come and say taxis must fill up to 100%. Taxi industry itself said to me I am crazy," Mbalula said.

He says an announcement will also be made soon on long-distance travel.

"At the same time we are considering it now, and we are being advised by health people whether 100% is do-able.

"We are looking at full capacity including long-distance taxis, Remember long distance has not been operating since lockdown, we are looking at that in terms of interprovincial."

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