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South Africa: taxi drivers on strike due to Covid-19 consequences

Taxi workers in Gauteng are dissatisfied with the government relief grant and are demanding far more financial support.

A member of the Johannesburg metro Police department (JMPD) keeps watch as stranded commuters wait for transportation at a bus terminal during a protest by taxi operators over the government's financial relief for the taxi industry, amid the coronavi

Taxi drivers in Gauten, some of them affiliated to SA National Taxi Council (Santaco), expressed their anger by organizing a strike as they look to force the government to provide more support to help them with the economic fall-out from the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, which has caused severe economic hardship.

Most taxi commuters, including health workers, found themselves stranded on Monday due to the taxi workers strike.

Government relief grant for taxi drivers

The government earlier set a relief grant worth R5000 for each vehicle in an attempt to support drivers who were seriously hit during lockdown, however, drivers consider the relief to be insufficient and are demanding R20,000 per vehicle.

Taxi bosses in Johannesburg (including those working for SANTACO) announced their support for their colleagues in Guateng arguing that all workers in this sector have been badly hit by the coronavirus and need help as they attempt to recover from Covid-19 and the massive impact lockdown has had on them.

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Taxi drivers expected more Covid-19 help

Taxi bosses participating in the strike consider that the government have not been fair with them, as they were promised to be well compensated for the financial hardship they have endured, however, they argue the government R5000-per vehicle grant is not enough to cover expenses of owners, drivers and marshals.

In addition, the government requires specific conditions for those who are entitled to take advantage of the grant including having certain permits, with many in the industry not holding the required permits.

Taxi bosses said that whether the strike continues or not will depend on the talks to be held this week between the government and taxi representatives in order to reach a satisfying agreement.


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