Noord Street taxi rank in Johannesburg. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/ERIC MALEMA
Noord Street taxi rank in Johannesburg. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/ERIC MALEMA

The largest taxi organisation in the country has mapped out a plan to limit the spread of Covid-19 in the sector which provides crucial transport for an estimated 16.5-million passengers daily. 

SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) president Phillip Taaibosch addressed the media at the Wanderers taxi rank in Johannesburg on Wednesday morning on measures they will take to limit the spread of the virus. Rapidly spreading Covid-19 has sickened more than 185,067 people in 155 countries and regions.

The measures include cleaning and disinfecting taxi ranks and minibus taxis with certified chemicals every day, said Taaibosch.

There are more than 1,000 taxi ranks in the country , he said.

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has said there will be random screening of passengers for Covid-19 at all taxi ranks and train stations, and that the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) would sanitise all of its trains.

Passengers will be sanitised as they enter and leave taxi ranks.

“All taxis will have sanitisers offered to all passengers as they enter the taxi and after handling taxi fares. Everybody in the vicinity of the taxi rank must cover their mouths when coughing and sneezing,” Taaibosch said.

“Queue marshals are encouraged to ensure that passengers observe hygiene standards ... such as the [frequent] washing of hands.”

Santaco has formed a national command centre, chaired by Taaibosch, aimed at monitoring the implementation of the taxi industry programme on Covid-19.

The programme will be taken to the bustling Bosman taxi rank in Pretoria and to the Kempton Park taxi rank, among others.

“I want to emphasise that this task ahead of us is not easy. We anticipate challenges, but we remain [resolute],” said Taaibosch.

“We acknowledge steps taken by president [Cyril Ramaphosa] ... Santaco will take such steps to reduce spread of coronavirus. We also thank the media for its interest and thorough communication on this issue.”

Ramaphosa declared the coronavirus a national disaster on Sunday and ordered the closure of schools and banned gatherings of more than 100 people, among other measures.

Taaibosch said: “I’m confident that when we all pull together in one direction, we will beat the coronavirus spread and eliminate it completely..”

Political parties including the ANC, DA and municipal workers union Samwu have announced the postponement of their scheduled councils and conferences to limit the spread of the disease.

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