According to reports, the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) has warned Law Enforcement Agencies that if taxis are impounded for loading at 100% capacity and travelling to other provinces, they will bring the country to a standstill.
Santaco’s announcement comes after a series of cancellations and postponements of meetings between taxi officials and Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula.
In response, Mbalula’s spokesperson, Ayanda Allie-Paine said, “The minister appeals to the leadership structures of the taxi industry to reconsider their decision to incite lawlessness and place drivers and passengers on a collision course with law enforcement authorities.”
Santaco President, Phillip Taaibosch has also demanded the release of all taxis that were impounded at the start of the lockdown.
“We are aware that law enforcement will want to impound our taxis. Our vehicles have been impounded since day one of the national lockdown with a charge of at least R5000. Tomorrow (Monday) we will not accept any form of impoundment. Operators will have no option but to park all their taxis countrywide until the impounded taxis are released and we are allowed to continue with our work.”
The National Taxi Alliance (NTA) has joined Santaco in its decision to load taxis to 100% capacity despite lockdown regulations restricting them to 70%.
NTA Secretary-General, Alpheus Mlalazi, says they will withdraw their services if members are harassed by law enforcement authorities. He says NTA members will still act within their legal permits.
However, some taxi drivers and owners have reportedly said they will continue to abide by the law as they cannot risk having their vehicles impounded.