Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula published a Twitter thread which covered the measures that will be taken by his department for the duration of the national lockdown, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Wednesday, 25 March 2020, Minister Fikile Mbalula announced the measures that will be undertaken by his department during the 21 days of the national lockdown. The announcement polarised the South African public, with some commending the minister for his strong-handed directives. On the other hand, some members of the South African public questioned the practicality of his measures.
The first mode of transport that the thread addressed was rail. Long distance travelling will be prohibited during the lockdown, with Shosholoza Meyl and the Blue Train having already suspended operations until the lockdown is over. Metrorail and the Gautrain will suspend its operations today, 26 March 2020, until otherwise advised.
Second in the minister’s statement was aviation, with only the transportation of essential cargo being permitted. The thread emphasised that imports from high-risk countries will be sanitised before being loaded off. The same measures will be applied to maritime and shipping, with cruiseliners completely banned during the lockdown from any port.
Mbalula then addressed the contentious issue of taxis during the lockdown, noting that they would only be permitted to operate during stipulated hours for the purpose of accommodating essential services workers. This is inclusive of minibuses, metered and e-hailing taxis, such as Uber and Bolt. However, the thread stipulated that it is the drivers’ responsibility to sanitise their taxi after every trip. Important to note is that taxis will be functional between 05:00 and 09:00 in the morning, and again between 16:00 and 20:00 in the evening.
See the full thread below.
Department of Transport measures related to the 21 Days Lockdown:
As the Minister of Transport, I am empowered by the Disaster Management Act Regulations to issue the following Directions.
— Minister of Transport |Mr Fix (@MbalulaFikile) March 25, 2020