Some Gauteng taxi drivers said that they had to ferry commuters without making a profit for several weeks during the national lockdown, and it was now government’s turn to make a sacrifice by adding more money to its R1.1 billion relief fund for their industry.
Drivers got back behind the wheel on Tuesday morning after Monday’s chaotic strike in the province by the South African National Taxi Association (Santaco) in Gauteng.
#TaxiShutdown the Bara Taxi Rank is back to normal this morning. Taxi drivers say they are back at work not because they accept government’s offer but because they understand the importance of the service they offer to South Africans. KM pic.twitter.com/hEHnZ309gl— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) June 23, 2020
Taxi operators are demanding R20,000 per vehicle in the form of relief, but government is offering R5,000 per taxi.
Taxi drivers at the Bara taxi rank in Diepkloof, Soweto, returned to work in order to serve South Africans who needed to be at work on Tuesday, and not because they had reached an agreement with government.
One driver said they had been selfless during the lockdown by agreeing to ferry commuters for a fraction of what they usually made.
“I was expecting that the government would agree to our demands as they had also asked us to adhere to the lockdown regulations,” he said.
He said he was hoping that government would hear their grievances as they had also tried to abide by lockdown regulations and ferry loads of up to 10 passengers.
Another driver said: “It doesn’t mean that we have accepted government’s relief funds, but we are back at work this morning because our customers need to get back to work and school. We are thinking about their needs.”
Drivers said they would be following government’s talks with Santaco on Wednesday closely with the hope that the Transport Department would budge.