Gauteng Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo condemned the actions of the driver of a minibus taxi that overturned on the M1 in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
The man allegedly contravened public transport regulations during the country’s 21-day lockdown period by carrying more passengers than the regulations allowed.
According to Mamabolo, it was reported that the minibus taxi from the Ennerdale Taxi Association, which was carrying 15 passengers, overturned near the Xavier off-ramp.
Passengers suffered various injuries, but no one died.
“We strongly condemn this behaviour by the taxi driver and call on law enforcement agencies to enforce the regulations without fear or favour. The driver must face the full might of the law for contravening regulations,” said Mamabolo.
He added that the flouting of the regulations showed that there was little regard for the lives of passengers.
This, Mamabolo said, was unacceptable because the government consulted the taxi industry on the regulations announced by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.
The MEC reiterated the provincial government’s call for the taxi industry and public transport operators to comply with the regulations, and warned of consequences for those who disregarded them.
“The regulations that are in place, especially for this period, are there to protect the lives of the people. Anyone who shows disregard for the regulations is definitely not assisting our efforts to flatten the curve and stop the spread of Covid-19,” said Mamabolo.
Last week, Mbalula amended the public transport regulations to accommodate concerns from the taxi industry:
- A minibus licensed to carry 10 passengers, is now limited to a maximum of seven;
- A minibus licensed to carry 15 passengers, is now limited to 10;
- A minibus permitted to carry a maximum of 22 passengers, can now carry 15; and
- A vehicle licensed to carry a maximum of four passengers is now limited to two.
“We require public transport operators to adhere to the directions on sanitising vehicles and put measures in place to give effect to social distancing at all material times,” Mbalula said.
He added that the hours during which taxi drivers were allowed to operate had also been changed.
Previously, the standard operating times during the lockdown were 5am-10am and 4pm-9pm.
But taxis will now be allowed to operate between 5am-8pm.