Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has assured travellers using long-distance public transport that regulations will be amended to ensure that they make it home without any stops.
“I was in communication with the Minister of Cogta last night, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and the Minister of Police Bheki Cele, and today we are looking at passing a directive to enable long distance to be able to be sorted out during the period of 1-7 May,” Mbalula told the media in Sandton on Monday.
This comes after several long-distance commuters were stopped by law enforcement officials after curfew. Under level 4 legislation, all those without a permit should be home between 20.00pm and 05.00am.
A traveller tweeted the minister last night, indicating that the bus she was travelling on had been stopped in the middle of the night and was told to only resume travelling again at 05.00am, once the curfew had ended.
As a result, Mbalula said the department was going to address the exceptional circumstances that occur during long-distance travel.
“This is to ensure that travellers are not affected by the roadblocks and they are not stopped on the road.
“I wish to apologise to everybody who got inconvenienced by that and we are sorting out that issue so that, by the end of today (Monday), we gazette a direction that will enable long distance, particularly public transport people to be catered for,” he said.
News24 visited Park Station on Monday morning, which was a hive of activity as travellers rushed to get home during the window period.
Siba Singqoto, 37, said he had been forced to return home to Port Elizabeth today, as he could no longer afford the cost of living in Johannesburg while the company he works for is under lockdown.
“I arrived in Johannesburg in January to start work, so I was still under probation when the lockdown started. Due to the company being under lockdown, I have not earned any income, so I have to return home until things get back to normal,” he explained.
As of Sunday, 3 April, the country had 6,783 cases and 131 deaths.