The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) is expected to announce an independent relief fund for the taxi industry on Tuesday to support those affected by the loss of business during the 21-day national lockdown.
“All I can tell you is the fund will be announced tomorrow and the nature of the fund will be outlined, how it will be operated as well as who will qualify for this fund,” Santaco spokesperson Thabiso Molelekwa told News24 on Monday.
Strict regulations have been imposed during the 21-day lockdown, aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The regulations affecting the taxi industry include the following:
-From 04:00-05:00, empty taxis are permitted to be on the road, solely to pick up commuters.
-From 05:00-10:00 taxis are permitted to ferry commuters at a 70% licensed capacity.
-From 10:00-11:00, all outstanding commuters must be dropped off and taxis must be parked.
-Taxis are permitted to be back on the roads between 15:00-16:00, solely to pick up commuters.
-Taxis are allowed to ferry commuters at a 70% licensed capacity between 16:00-20:00.
-From 20:00-21:00, all outstanding commuters must be dropped off and taxis must be parked.
The restrictions led to a “huge loss of income” for many and as a result, the fund was independently established.
“We estimate that we will need about R3.5 billion to provide relief to approximately 250 000 taxis operating on the roads. Prior to the lockdown, each taxi would average six trips a day. Now, during the lockdown, we’re averaging two trips a day,” Molelekwa said.
This loss of income has a knock-on effect as a taxi owner will find themselves unable to provide for their drivers, rank marshals, etc.
The fund will be managed by professionals which include auditors, lawyers and accountants.
“We are also appealing to the private sector to come on board and assist.
“This is our own initiative; it has nothing to do with government. If they would like to contribute, we welcome this,” he said.