The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) is set to take massive action to help combat and control possibilities of the coronavirus in the taxi industry.
Santaco president Phillip Taaibosch told Pretoria News that the organization was not going to fold its hand while President Cyril Ramaphosa asked the nation to be extra cautious.
He said: “As the taxi industry we are responsible for transporting 16.5 million passengers on a daily basis and hire over 750 000 people. We have at least 300 000 taxi operators that are vulnerable right now.
“We have to do everything in our power to protect our passengers and make sure we help curb the spread of this virus. You can imagine the disaster if we fold our hands because we carry millions of people who come into contact with each other and other people in the workplace.
“We are going to hold a meeting to discuss what is the way forward and measures to take and we’ll hold a media conference by Thursday to update the country on what we are going to do. At the moment, I cannot tell you in detail what we will do, but I can guarantee you it’s going to be massive action.”
With over 60 confirmed cases in the country, commuters in Pretoria said the provision of sanitizers and masks by the government for the taxi industry might be a good idea to fight the spread of the virus.
Mmatseke Baloi said taxis are basically congested inside during peak hours and with the windows often closed due to the breeze, it’s easy for the virus to spread. She said passengers should have a hand sanitizer ready inside every taxi.
A taxi driver who asked not to be named said: “In the taxis, we hear people cough all the time. In fact, some of the people we transport between Ga-Rankuwa and Pretoria are either going or coming from Dr. George Mukhari Academic Hospital. I think if people had masks they wouldn’t panic or be worried.”
In the meanwhile, queues of clearly over 100 people outside various offices were concerning those residents who’ve taken Ramaphosa’s advice to avoid gatherings of such large numbers.
A group of people were seen queueing outside the Department of Labour on Nana Sita Street, while there were queues in other parts of the City, including taxi ranks.