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Cele Warns Taxi Operators Against Breaking Lockdown Regulations

Police Minister Bheki Cele on Monday warned taxi organisations against disregarding the lockdown regulations, saying there would be consequences.

Taxi drivers on Monday heeded the South African National Taxi Council’s (Santaco) call to violate regulations by loading 100% capacity per load of passengers.

That was in direct defiance of the stipulated 70%.

Taxi drivers violated the lockdown regulations despite the presence of law enforcement officers at three major ranks in the Joburg CBD.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula spoke out against the move, calling the action premature.

Spokesperson for the Department of Police Lirandzu Themba said officers should take action.

“From an enforcement point of view, anyone found to be in violation of regulations will certainly be dealt with,” she said.

Santaco argued that the taxi industry had lost billions of rand since the beginning of the lockdown and that the R1.1 billion offered by government was insufficient.

Meanwhile, the taxi leadership and Mbalula are expected to meet on Tuesday in an effort to find common ground.

Mbalula also said he would consult Cabinet on further relief measures.

With little wiggle room left for government finances following last week’s supplementary Budget, which painted a bleak picture, Mbalula was convinced a lot more could be done for the taxi industry.

“We need to address all of those issues over the formalisation of the taxi industry and subsidising it. The taxi industry is the backbone of our nation,” he said.

The minister spoke of the historic importance of the taxi industry during a briefing on Monday, highlighting just how crucial it is to the country’s economy.

It was on this basis that he felt a solution to current disagreements could be found.

Mbalula also announced the reopening of more airports across the country, stressing that lessons were learned during the reopening of OR Tambo International, among others, three weeks ago.

However, only business travellers could take to the skies.