Heavily armed with bottles of sanitisers and gloves, MEC for Transport and Public Works, Bonginkosi Madikizela, members of the taxi industry and the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) gathered at the station deck in Cape Town last week to educate commuters about the threat of Covid-19 and what could be done to curb the of spread the virus. Mr Madikizela said the government was relying on the association and its members to help roll out the information on Covid-19 to all taxi ranks in the province.
He also commended them for spearheading the campaign.
“The budget came from them anyway. They are sponsoring everything. We as the government assist here and there,” said Mr Madikizela.
He said the sanitisers and gloves were donated by Santaco.
The campaign came at a time when the country is grappling with Covid-19.
By yesterday the country had 709 confirmed cases of the virus and was preparing for a lockdown from midnight tonight, Thursday March 26.
Last week the delegation made sure that all passers-by were given hand sanitiser and surgical gloves, an offer that many welcomed.
Santaco chairperson Nazeem Abdurahman said they did everything without a subsidy.
Speaking before the announcement of the 21 day lockdown by President Cyril Ramapgosa on Monday, he said his organisation had been prepared to take precautions to look after commuters, including during travels for Easter.
However, the 21-day lockdown until Thursday April 16 includes the Easter weekend. Asked if the number of passengers would be reduced in the taxis, he said; “We are not sure for now because our numbers are usually 16. We are safe for now. However, we will take the necessary precautions to ensure that we curb the spread of this disease.”
Mr Abdurahman insisted that the drivers are complying with steps to curb the virus but also urged them to be more vigilant.
Monde Sondo, an experienced marshal on the Nyanga route, was more than happy to see the MEC and the delegation taking time to clean taxis.
However, he admitted that he needed to learn more about Covid-19 and was keen to get a set of gloves.
“These are interesting times.
‘I will have to sanitise each and every passenger.
‘The work to do that has started,” he told Vukani.
Mr Sondo is willing to work with passengers who are willing to work with him.
“Some do not want to be sanitised but some want to. I will have to work with those who want to,” he said.
CBD commuters and taxi drivers were happy to see what Mr Madikizela and Santaco were doing.
Siphelele Adonis, from Delft, who is an everyday taxi user, said he feels safe and cared for.
He thanked the MEC for the hand sanitisers in the taxi rank.
“I feel safe and this gives me hope that there is change happening with these precautions that are put in place.”
Mr Madikizela said there had been plans to take the campaign to all the busiest ranks such as Nyanga, Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain.