ANC loots electricity for its birthday celebrations – mayor of Kgatelopele must pay up
|by Fawzia Rhoda, MPL – DA Northern Cape Spokesperson of Finance|
|Date: 19 June 2020|
|Note to Editors: Please find attached soundbites in English & Afrikaans from Fawzia Rhoda, MPL. Non-compliant taxis in the Northern Cape are posing a serious threat to efforts to slow down the spread of Covid-19, prompting the Democratic Alliance to call on MEC of Transport, Safety and Liaison, Nontobeko Vilakazi, to step up efforts to enforce health and safety regulations within the taxi sector.The DA has received complaints from commuters utilising taxis in the vicinity of Kimberley, who fear for their safety due to potential exposure to the Coronavirus when travelling in mini-bus taxis.According to one commuter, who regularly catches a taxi from Roodepan into the city centre, the taxis that she has encountered seem unphased by the regulations. She often has to travel in taxis that are packed to capacity and in some instances, even overloaded, with travellers utilising bucket seats in the isles. This is in spite of regulations specifying that taxis should only be 70% full. She said that even if the taxi is only 70% full when departing from a rank, it soon fills up with additional picks-ups along the way.The commuter indicated that while there are signs displayed in taxis, stating that all passengers must wear masks, this is not being enforced by taxi drivers. She also stated that hand sanitiser is generally not found on board, or if it is there, it is not being used on passengers.|
In addition to the above complaints, there are also concerns that not all taxi ranks are enforcing social distancing when passengers line up to catch taxis. It is also questionable as to how frequently taxi drivers are sanitising the interiors of their vehicles.The above is all very worrying, given that young and old alike, including learners who have returned to school, people with co-morbidities and people who are vulnerable due to age, are utilising the very same transport.The DA notes the observations of one commuter, who has indicated that not only have the taxis that she has travelled in never been stopped and checked by traffic officers since the relaxation of lockdown regulations, but she has also yet to see a traffic officer out on the road.
While the DA is well aware that the provincial and municipal traffic force is highly understaffed, this is not a valid reason for traffic officers to be invisible on our roads.The DA has written to MEC Vilakazi, asking for increased law enforcement at taxi ranks and on our roads. This must include routine stop-and-checks of taxis. It should also involve cooperation with municipal traffic officers, as well as the South African Police Force.Given that many people making use of taxis are afraid of complaining, for fear of victimization, the DA further recommends setting up a hotline whereby commuters can report non-compliant taxis, for further investigation by the authorities.It is increasingly important that non-compliant taxis not just get a slap on the wrist and be allowed to return to our roads, if they are found to be contravening Covid-19 regulations. Firm punishment is necessary for errant taxi drivers to change their ways and start putting other people’s lives first.It cannot be overstated that, at a time as volatile as this, when we are said to be heading straight into the Covid-19 storm, all efforts must be aimed at stopping the spread of the Coronavirus. This requires an all of society approach, that is very much dependent on full support from the transport industry.
|Fawzia Rhoda, MPLDA Northern Cape Spokesperson of Finance082 408 8070 Shelley De WittResearcher0828471387|