Coronavirus: Durban taxi association's operations crushed by lockdown regulations

2020-03-27 19:38
(Gallo Images)

(Gallo Images)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

A major Durban taxi association is unable to continue its operations during the national lockdown because it is not financially viable, in another example of the economic pinch felt because of lockdown regulations. 

Ethekwini Metro Taxi Council, which ferries people to and from the Durban CBD will shut down all its operations within the Durban metro on Friday. New regulations during the lockdown means the group's taxis will only be able to carry seven people at a time. 

The council's secretary, Mathula Mkhize said: "We have supported the government and bought sanitisers for passengers and masks for drivers. Little did we know this morning that there is a new rule which exposes our taxis and passengers to seven people per car. This was saddening because we had to abandon some of our passengers."

READ | 'I know people are dying. That's why I came here' - Homeless to be housed in Durban on day one of lockdown

Mkhize said while there was possible miscommunication, it was still not feasible to transport just seven people at a time.

We do not want to blame the government

"We do believe there could have been a communication breakdown. We do not want to blame the government. This is an unforeseen pandemic. Sadly, we are in an economic space where we are saying economically it is no longer viable to move seven people in a vehicle for 15 people."

Mkhize added that, beyond economics, "we believe in the rule of safety".

READ | Wheels of justice: Johannesburg cyclist who defied lockdown arrested

"We know our drivers have an interest in making money. If we have half loads, a driver will try to double his loads. That would mean a taxi running 200km/h to meet with the evening cash up. We said let's eat humble pie and stop our services."


Pretty Mthembu, a resident of Ndwedwe – which is 60km from Durban - said she was concerned about the times as well as planning by the government for public transport.

She said because the morning cut off time of 09:00 was so early for public transport, many commuters were left stranded in the city during the day.

"We are worried because we have groceries to go cook food. I am worried about the pension payout. All the people will come early and stand like this. After the pension payout they go to the stores, but they have to stand a distance from each other now."

She said this meant people would have to wait around all day.  

"[This means] they have to stand and wait like this for taxis to come at 16:00. What about their circumstances? They have different illnesses. The government must speak to the association and make an agreement. The taxi is going to come at 16:00 and only pick up seven people."

Mkhize said while the organisation were still in communication with the government, he did not anticipate an immediate resolution. 

"We will see what the government can come up with, but we do not know."

Sign up for Lockdown Living, our new daily newsletter for life during lockdown

Read more on:    durban  |  lockdown  |  coronavirus

Inside News24

Lockdown For
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.