The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) will use a skeleton staff to continue transporting passengers performing essential services during the 21-day lockdown to and from their workplaces.

Santaco’s secretary-general, Ralph Jones, said it was ready to continue with its work, but with skeleton staff.

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday night the country would be on lockdown from 26 March.

Jones said: “People need to go to work. Many of those who fall under the essential services category are relying on us for transport. We are going to transport them [or] they will be stuck at home while the country needs them.

“As Santaco, we respect the president and his decision to safeguard our country from the coronavirus spreading further. We are also expected to participate during the lockdown.”

Joes said Santaco would abide with Ramaphosa’s instructions.

“We will never go against his words. People’s lives are at stake and nurses are expected to attend to the sick and those infected and they need us to take them to work.

“Everybody is this country is directly or indirectly affected and we need each other going forward. We call on taxi operators to listen to their leaders during the lockdown.”

Jones said Santaco was waiting on a meeting with senior government officials, including Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, on how it would be expected to operate during the lockdown.

NEWS24

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