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JHB travellers try to make it home before midnight

Some South African citizens in Johannesburg could be seen trying to get home before the dreaded lockdown deadline of midnight on Thursday 26 March.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the nation would undergo a lockdown for 21 days, meaning no South African can leave their home unless it’s for food or medication. Many feel that 21 days are too long to be without their families and especially during a national disaster when one doesn’t really know what to expect. 

According to EWN, long-distance taxi ranks in Johannesburg were experiencing high volumes of commuters leaving the city on Thursday. This, despite Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula prohibiting the travel to other provinces and districts.

Travellers try to make it home before lockdown 

The Wanderers Taxi Rank was booming, as hundreds of people were leaving the city to spend the next 21 days with their families. Taxi marshals were directing travellers heading to provinces including KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern, the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga.

Traffic volumes on the N3 between Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal were also increasing. The N3 Toll Concession’s Con Roux said they were beginning to see heavy traffic on the highway.

“We are expecting traffic to pick up a little during the course of the day. Just yesterday the number of vehicles picked at over 1 000 vehicles per hour. My expectation is that traffic will be higher today,” he said.

Strict measures for SA transport 

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Wednesday 25 March, at a security cluster briefing, that taxis, trains, aviation and e-hailing services would be severely affected by the nationwide lockdown. 

Mbabula said that there would be no rail operations, both public or private, during the 21-day lockdown period. He also stated that all international and domestic flights are prohibited, irrespective of the risk category of the country of origin.

Regarding ships, Mbalula enforced a ban on cruise ships at seaports and said that only essential cargo would be allowed at eight seaports. 

Mbalula said movement of taxis would be allowed from 05:00 to 09:00 and again from 16:00 to 20:00. Ubers, buses and metered taxis would be allowed to operate during the same hours. 

Here’s what you can’t do during lockdown 

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize initially said dog-walking during the lockdown would be allowed, but a few hours later, Police Minister Bheki Cele said it would be prohibited. He said that if unnecessary movement takes place, the SAPS and SANDF will intervene.

Here are the things you should not do during lockdown:

  • Do not invite people to your homes; 
  • This means no social gatherings of any kind, no matter how small you think it is; 
  • Sorry folks, but that include braais; 
  • You also cannot go to the home of a friend or a family member, for any recreational purposes, this includes going for a “smoke or a drink”; and 
  • Mkhize reiterated that those who use their properties for gatherings of worship during lockdown, must also desist immediately.

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