Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has rejected the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) after the association warned law enforcement agencies and government to bring country standstill.
They said that if one vehicle is impounded for loading at 100% capacity on Monday morning, they would bring the country to a standstill.
Santaco’s leadership made the announcement during a virtual briefing on Sunday following what it called a lack of direction from Mbalula.
The council’s resolution goes against government’s COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines that instruct taxis to only load at 70% capacity during level three of the lockdown.
Mbalula’s Spokesperson Ayanda Allie-Paine said said minister appeals to the leadership structures of the taxi industry to reconsider their decision to incite lawlessness.
“To place drivers and passengers on a collision course with law enforcement authorities.”
The taxi association has also given the greenlight to all its members to operate long-distance routes without permits for both drivers and commuters.
In a statement on Sunday, Mbalula said: “It is rather unfortunate and regrettable that the taxi industry leadership has elected to violate the law and forcefully load taxis at 100% capacity and undertake inter-provincial operations without the requisite permits, rather than await a decision on the matters they have tabled.”
He said law enforcement officers will work to enforce the 70% loading capacity for taxis.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms any call encouraging taxi operators to violate provisions of the law and promote lawlessness.
“We remain committed to taking forward our engagements and encourage the industry to ensure that any form of protest they embark upon, is within the parameters of the law,” the statement added.