The Westen Cape province has been flagged as a potential ticking bomb for the Covid-19 pandemic following a spike in the number of infections between 20 April and 22 May.
Kaizer Madonsela, Santaco provincial spokesman has warned that failure by other stakeholders like provincial government and interested parties was likely to compromise and undo all the good work the authorities had done when the country went into lockdown towards the end of March. The public transport sector, and in particular the mini bus taxi industry was more likely to be the sector hardest hit by the virus if no stringent measures were taken to put all safety and precautionary measures in place.
“We are worried about the seeming uncontrolled way with which the pandemic is getting out of hand across the province,” said Madonsela.
He said, and in an apparent plea to the authorities, that the province was not doing enough to support the taxi industry in the fight against Covid-19.
“As the taxi industry we are doing our level best to comply regulations under the lockdown on loading capacity, wearing of face masks and administering of disinfectants to passengers,” added Madonsela.
At the time of going to press the province had out jumped the other three provinces of Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng with a staggering 12,153. Gauteng was second with 2,453 with Eastern Cape coming third with 2,324 while KwaZulu-Natal came fourth with 1,693. Free State had 184 while Limpopo was in sixth position with 121 infections and Mpumalanga with 95 came in seventh position. North West and Northern Cape had 77 and 37, respectively. There were 369 deaths countrywide by 22 May before going to print.
Madonsela indicated that taxi associations were only given a few liters of disinfectants – something that could barely last for even a week.
“In situations like these, what happens if a passenger that is already infected gets into a taxi undetected,” asked Madonsela.
He said it was the was Important for the taxi industry to get all the necessary support for both the seceding and tracing of people using taxis.
“We need all the support from both the government and the private sectors in curbing the spread of this virus,” said Madonsela.
Meanwhile police in the province have confirmed the arrest and subsequent placement of a driver and seven passengers in quarantine after the driver had knowingly travelled to the Eastern Cape having tested positive for coronavirus. The driver had been tested at the N2 Tsitsikama roadblock in the Eastern Cape and knew of his status but still drove to the Eastern Cape but cops nabbed him at the R61 road near Beaufort West and, together with the seven passengers in the taxi – the driver was escorted back to Cape Town to a quarantine site.
“The police and traffic officials who escorted the driver and passengers all underwent the necessary monitoring in line with Covid-19 protocols as a precaution,” said Western Cape spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa.