Sixteen taxi drivers are behind bars for contravening the recently adjusted regulations implemented by the government to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
On Monday, Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo said the taxi drivers were arrested in Tshwane on Sunday, adding a Rea Vaya driver was also arrested on the same day.
“The arrests are continuing. Compliance with regulations is non-negotiable. The law will take its course and we are clear on that.
“The police will arrest and they must arrest. It is non-negotiable that taxis must carry 70% of their load and operate on the stipulated hours of trade and not beyond that,” Mamabolo said.
He promised they would accommodate social grants recipients who were receiving their money on Monday.
“Any taxi driver who undermines the rule of law in this province and undermines law enforcement will meet the might of the law. The taxi industry was consulted and there is no targeting and there shouldn’t be complaints.
“[The] taxi industry must once more please comply and that is non-negotiable and the law will take its course,” he said.
Mamabolo ordered that every taxi rank and taxi in the province should be disinfected and sanitised.
“Every taxi must be clean and we are appealing to the leadership of the taxi industry to bring their taxis to us to clean them. All of them, without any exception, will be cleaned. If there is a taxi rank that is not cleaned, we will be happy to receive the name,” he said.
Mamabolo promised that they would be on the ground doing their work.
He said private companies, including Outsurance, have made donations to provide equipment and sanitisers.
“We are not paying a cent to anyone. Outsurance has provided us with their trained pointsmen because there is no traffic due to lockdown. They are assisting us for free and if we need to extend that we are going to pay.
“The only thing that we have spent money on is protective gear. Those are paid for by the government,” said Mamabolo.
“We are improving the work that we have been doing. We are ramping up, we are scaling up.”
The programme will be rolled across the province’s taxi ranks to prevent Covid-19 from spreading.
Each taxi rank will be given sanitising liquid.
“People who provided us with the disinfectants have assured us that their liquid is strong enough to remain in the taxi for at least three days. Every taxi rank is supplied with sanitisers and equipment.
“We have circulated the equipment. It is very important and absolutely critical that we clean and disinfect every taxi. Taxi drivers and marshals will sanitise hands of passengers. We will also be providing commuters with gloves.”
Mamabolo said they were worried because the virus could be easily transferred inside taxis.