The United Democratic Movement (UDM) is disappointed with Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s failure to address disgruntled taxi drivers just a few days ago. This is not what is expected of a minister; he could have done better and not just throw tantrums, as the taxi drivers are justifiably frustrated, and they have been patient with the government for nearly three months.
The taxi industry may not yet be formalised, but it should be respected, because it carries thousands of South Africans to and from work, and, should there be another taxi shutdown, the working class and ordinary citizens will be immensely affected.
The UDM however does not support SANTACO’s call to load taxis to full capacity, as, by doing so, innocent people will be exposed to Covid-19 and a lot can go wrong with the few resources we have to fight this deadly virus. We also plead with commuters to meet government halfway, whilst rushing to and from their destinations, to curb the spread of this virus.
The R5,000 once-off relief money offered by government is clearly problematic and we plead with Minister Mbalula to urgently meet with SANTACO and other taxi associations to negotiate a way forward.
South Africa is faced by serious crises already – Covid-19 infections are exponentially increasing and the scourge of gender-based violence is marring our social landscape – the fight between SANTACO and the Department of Transport cannot be one of them.
Mr Bongani Msomi
UDM Secretary General