Whilst many African nations lack organised taxi/transportation industry, taxi owners in South Africa are going on strike as they demand that the government review the financial relief it promised them to soften their sufferings due to coronavirus lockdown.
The South Africa National Taxi Council (Santaco) confirmed on yesterday that operations will be shut down in Gauteng on from today.
The government set aside R1.1 billion to cushion the transport sector to get back on its feet.
But taxi associations said this amount was not enough as it will also include e-haling and metered taxi services.
They demand about R20 000 per taxi but Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said the government can only afford R5 000 per taxi.
The R5,000 this was a once-off payment and Mbalula said the R1.135bn taxi relief was not a compensation for a loss of income.
Spokesperson of the association, Midday Mali claimed the strike would be a peaceful one and that there would be no disruption of alternative transport that commuters may opt for. “The problem is that we are supposed to share this money with the e-hailing and metered taxis and when you calculations this it comes down to less than R3 000 in relief,” he said.
He indicated that the drivers will keep their vehicles parked at the taxi ranks and not carry anyone for the duration of the strike.
Travellers are free to use other means of transport as they promised they won’t obstruct them.
Transport minister said R20 000 per taxi pushes the figure to about R10 billion which government could not afford.
Mbalula emphasised that the relief should be seen as relief and not funding claiming the taxi industry suffers like other sectors during the lockdown.