Home News Premier, MEC hand over hygiene products to city taxis

Premier, MEC hand over hygiene products to city taxis

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Following the handover, the premier and MEC visited a number of taxi ranks to encourage the disinfecting and sanatising of taxis.

HYGIENE products like hand sanitisers, masks, gloves and disinfectants were handed over to local taxi associations in Kimberley by Premier Zamani Saul and MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison Nontobeko Vilakazi to assist with compliance within the industry.

The handover took place on Wednesday at the department’s offices, where the products were given to local taxi operators, and forms part of the department’s programme to assist the taxi industry to comply with hygiene regulations to fight the Covid 19 pandemic during the national lockdown.

Following the handover, the premier and MEC visited a number of taxi ranks to encourage the disinfecting and sanatising of taxis.

According to the department, all formal and informal taxi ranks throughout the Northern Cape will receive the products.

The existing database consists of at least 40 ranks where the products will be distributed.

The handover was part of the government’s attempt to heed the call by taxi operators, who had indicated that they could not afford to purchase the necessary protection supplies for their commuters.

It also followed a visit by the MEC to various parts of the Province, where she engaged with taxi associations in Kimberley, Springbok, Upington, Kuruman and De Aar on the new transport regulations.

Department spokesperson Patsy Alley explained that the feedback received during her engagements was referred to the national department.

“As a result of the feedback, the national Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison provided the items in bulk for distribution. Santaco (South African National Taxi Council) will be in charge of the distribution,” she said.

The Kimberley Local Taxi Association and Thusano Taxi Association expressed their appreciation to the department for heeding their calls for assistance in sanitising the taxi environment and passengers.

The taxi industry had earlier highlighted the challenges and lack of affordability in keeping sanitisers and providing passengers with masks at a time when they are unable to transport a full load of passengers.

“We are in a financial crisis as an industry,” said one of the taxi operators. “It is already a challenge to access sanitisers because the shops have either escalated the prices or do not have stock.

“Purchasing masks at R20 each for every passenger, who only pays R12 for a trip, does not make economic sense.”

Thami Gabuza from the Kimberley Local Taxi Association promised that they would utilise the donated items properly in order to comply with the regulations put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The Thusano Taxi Association said that it had also been engaging with the authorities regarding compliance with the regulations.

Drivers were further urged to comply in keeping the virus at bay by sanitising the ranks and taxis.

Alley added that the department would continue to monitor the need for more products and assist where necessary.