Minibus Taxis in South Africa Embark on Strike Over Insufficient COVID-19 Relief Funds

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Minibus Taxis in South Africa Embark on Strike Over Insufficient COVID-19 Relief Funds
Nwolu Obiajulu

Multitude of people were left stranded in South Africa due to strike action by minibus taxi drivers over what they termed inadequate corona virus relief funds.

On Monday morning, taxi drivers in Johannesburg and capital city of Pretoria in the province of Gauteng barricaded roads and declined transporting workers. Local media report that police used rubber bullets to disperse protesting drivers in Pretoria.

The nationwide lockdown which was imposed in March to curb the prevalence of COVID-19 have adversely affected the transport sector in South Africa thereby reducing the income of drivers.

As the country continue to ease restrictions, many citizens who depend on minibus as means of transportation to work will need the buses once the economy returns to full operation. Restrictions were placed in the number of passengers the minibus could carry and the time of operation. Government allocated 1.3 billion (about $76 million) as relief fund to the taxi industry but members have turned down the offer, saying it will not cover the cost of the industry’s losses.

In the level 3 of lockdown restrictions, manufacturing industries were allowed to reopen while further lifting of the measures allowed operation of sit-in restaurants, movie theaters and salons. More industries are expected to be reopened as the country makes progress in the fight against the virus.

Jacob Mamabolo, minister of public transport in Gauteng province disclosed the plan of government to meet with the industry this week to discuss a solution to the disagreement.

Reported cases of COVID-19 in Africa have gone above 300,000, showing a rapid rise in the spread of the virus across the continent. Figures reported on Monday by the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention, showed the continent now has 306,567 confirmed cases, including 8,115 deaths and 146,212 recoveries.

It took more than 90 days for Africa’s 54 countries to reach 100,000 cases, 19 days to reach 200,000 and now 12 days to go above 300,000. The actual number of cases is believed to be much higher, as testing across the continent is low.

South Africa is home to almost 1/3 of the confirmed cases in the continent with 97,302 cases.  The country had hoped to curtail the spread with rapid testing and contact tracing but her status as the country with the highest number of tests carried out, the delay in getting results is sabotaging the fight. Authorities report an average of 12 days for results to be gotten.

 

Source: CGTN Africa

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