Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula was rushed away from a visit to engage with aggrieved taxi drivers on Monday. Mbalula was attempting to cool tempers as taxi operators embarked on a demonstration to highlight concerns within the industry, including accessing subsidies for loss of business during the lockdown. Taxi owners had asked for a minimum of R20,000 each but the government is offering R5,000 and wants the taxi sector formalised.
Operators are also unhappy with the conditions attached to accessing the funds, such as registering with SARS and opening a business bank account.
Mbalula addressed a crowd on Monday afternoon amid reports of drivers blocking roads and intimidating motorists. The minister was fielding questions when his security team deemed the crowd a security risk and transported Mbalula away with a police escort.
Mbalula said the government cannot afford anything more than R5,000 per taxi and appealed to the operators without success.
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