With most forms of public transport at a standstill amid the COVID-19 lockdown, the country is relying heavily on the local minibus taxi industry to transport the bulk of South Africa’s essential workforce and at considerable risk to their own health.
As Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula continues to work with the industry to amend legislation and implement intervention aimed at providing reliable transport services during this period while minimising transmission risk, SA Taxi has stepped in to donate R3-million worth of hand sanitisers and facial masks to help battle its spread at taxi ranks and within taxis.
“We are encouraged by the bold steps taken by President Ramaphosa and his administration to contain the spread of this deadly disease and mitigate its socio-economic impact, particularly among the country’s most vulnerable citizens, many of whom commute daily via minibus taxis,” explains Maroba Maduma, Communications Executive at SA Taxi.
“As such, we are answering the President’s call for citizens and corporates to make a meaningful contribution towards the fight against COVID-19 by donating these essential and scarce items.”
As a vertically integrated business platform that creates a sustainable environment for the minibus taxi industry, SA Taxi is working closely with South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) and National Taxi Alliance (NTA) structures to contain the potential spread of the virus through the country’s largest public transport network.
“With carrying capacity regulations revised upward from 50% to 70% in respect of the taxi industry and an adjustment to morning operating times, the risk of transmission through this form of public transport will increase. As such, we are doing what we can to minimise those risks for all stakeholders,” adds Maduma.
“We are extremely grateful for SA Taxi’s unsolicited act of patriotism and compassion as the industry faces this immense challenge. We would like to thank the company for standing up and being counted among those who are helping the country to carry the weight of this burden,” states NTA Secretary-General, Mr Alpheus Mlalazi.
The bulk of the R3-million donation will be allocated to the Gauteng province, which is the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak in South Africa.
The donation builds on SA Taxi’s additional initiatives aimed at minimising the COVID-19 lockdown’s impact on taxi owners.
“SA Taxi recently announced that it will assist clients by providing payment relief to minimise the negative economic impact of the national lockdown on their business,” adds Maduma.
In addition, clients insured through SA Taxi Protect will also receive a payment relief from their monthly insurance premium in April but will retain their cover during this period.
SA Taxi has implemented interim debt repayment assistance measures to help certain of its minibus taxi operators to navigate their financial commitments during the 21-day lockdown period.
SA Taxi, a vertically integrated business platform that creates a sustainable environment for the minibus taxi industry will assist clients in good financial standing by providing payment relief to minimise the negative economic impact of the Covid-19 national lockdown on their business.
The payment relief for minibus taxi owners will commence on 1 April 2020 and be available for the full month.
In addition, clients insured through SA Taxi Protect will also have relief from their monthly insurance premium payment in April but will retain their cover during this period.