Taxi bosses surprise drivers with Covid-19 inspection

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Norwich Taxi Association taxi owners check their taxis for Covid-19 compliance on Old Uitenhage Road in Gqeberha on Thursday. Photo: Mkhuseli Sizani

Taxi bosses within the Norwich Taxi Association held a roadblock on Old Uitenhage Road in Gqeberha on Thursday morning, inspecting their taxis for Covid-19 compliance.

This follows numerous complaints from commuters that taxi drivers and tax collectors fail to comply with Level 4 lockdown regulations as well as other traffic violations on the roads between the townships of Kleinskool and Missionvale.

Commuter Lizeka Mfundisi from Missionvale works as a security guard in the Cleary Park shopping center and uses taxis every day. “These taxi drivers are playing with our lives,” she said. “They don’t take Covid-19 seriously [and don’t wear masks]. Their taxis are always overcrowded. They even put planks between the seats to make more space. Three passengers are seated next to the driver.

Zezethu Matwa from Govan Mbeki commune said, “Taxi drivers and tax collectors only care about money rather than safety. I am happy today to see the marshals of the ranks and officials enforce the Covid-19 regulations. “

Christopher Marlow, who works as a rank commissioner at Missionvale and who is also secretary of the Norwich Taxi Association, confirmed that they decided to do the inspection and awareness campaign after receiving the complaints. “We discovered that in many taxis there were no disinfectants, nor did the taxi drivers and collectors wear masks. We forced them to immediately take disinfectants and masks from us, as well as wear them in the line of duty, ”said Marlow.

During peak traffic, taxis leave rows overcrowded and use shortcuts to avoid law enforcement, Marlow said.

Ryno Plaatjies, president of the association, said they will have an urgent meeting with all taxi owners to decide on the sanction to be imposed on anyone found to be non-compliant. “The sanctions will begin next Monday. Under no circumstances can we allow careless drivers and owners to play with people’s lives. The safety of our passengers comes first, ”he said.

Responding to questions about taxi operators‘ compliance, Khuselwa Rantjie, spokesperson for the provincial transport ministry, said: “We have noted general compliance with regulations regarding wearing masks and opening windows in public areas. public transport vehicles. As a department, we continue to encourage operators and commuters to comply with non-clinical methods of managing the spread of Covid-19. “

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality spokesperson Kupido Baron urged people to report incidents of non-compliance to police and subway officers on 10111.

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