JOHANNESBURG - Taxi drivers say they understand the need for a national lockdown, but they're not sure exactly what this means for them.
The lockdown comes into effect on Thursday at midnight, to help stop the spread of coronavirus but taxi drivers are worried this will negatively impact their jobs, as well as those who need to travel for groceries.
Drivers at taxi ranks say they feel forgotten by government.
“There’s nothing that shows that [government] supports us. Here at this taxi rank, people just get into the taxi. They don’t get hand sanitiser. [Government] speaks about hand sanitisers and washing hands, but we don’t see any of that here,” said one taxi driver.
Taxi drivers are welcoming the 21-day lockdown.
At the same time, they are raising concerns about how they’ll get by because having no passengers, means they will have no income.
"We are not happy as taxi drivers, this is where we get the money. We don’t have bonuses and things like that," another driver said.
Meanwhile, the South African National Taxi Council hopes for more clarity from the Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, around its concerns.
“Issues around financing the repayment of taxis, payment of drivers, queue marshals," Santaco spokesperson Thabisho Molelekwa.
"Even the operator who is a businessman where a taxi is his or her only livelihood. Those are issues we want responses to and we want to deal with. We hope that the minister will give us time to attend to them."
Mbalula will lay out his plans on Wednesday.