How South Africa’s lockdown will impact transport sectors

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STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT, FIKILE MBALULA, ON THE OCCASION OF UNPACKING LOCKDOWN IMPLICATIONS FOR TRANSPORT ON 25 MARCH 2020

In announcing the nation-wide lockdown, the President indicated that provision will be made for essential transport services to continue, including transport for essential staff and for patients who need to be managed elsewhere.  The measures we are announcing today are in line with this injunction, while ensuring that the objective of the lockdown is achieved.  

Rail

  • All long-distance passenger rail services, both public and private, will stop operations for the duration of the lockdown.  Services of Shosholoza Meyl, Premier Classe and Blue Train operated by PRASA and Transnet respectively, have already been suspended.  The new regulations mean that private rail operators such as Rovos Rail will also cease operations.  
  • All commuter rail services will shut down for the duration of the lockdown.  This includes all Metrorail and Gautrain services.  

Aviation

  • All international and domestic flights are prohibited, irrespective of the risk category of the country of origin.  
  • Only essential air cargo will be allowed.  However, cargo from high risk country must be sanitized.

Maritime

  • The ban on cruise ships calling at any of our Sea Ports will be strictly enforced.
  • Essential cargo will be allowed at our 8 Sea Ports.  However, cargo from high risk countries must be sanitized. 

Taxis

MINIBUS TAXIS

  • As part of the relief measures for small businesses in distress as announced by the President, those taxis that have been financed by the National Taxi Finance administered by the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) will be granted a 3 months repayment holiday.  Commercial banks are also considering similar measures.
  • Minibus-Taxis will be allowed to transport essential services workers and those allowed to make the necessary permitted movements. Transport movements in this regard will be allowed to operate from 05h00 to 09h00 and again from 16h00 to 20h00.  
  • Operators should put measures in place to adhere to social distancing in order to curb the spread of the virus.
  • All minibus-taxis must be sanitized after every trip.
  • All taxi ranks must be sanitized at regular intervals.
  • Where appropriate, government will provide assistance.

METERED TAXIS AND E-HAILING

  • Metered Taxis and e-Hailing vehicles will be allowed to transport essential services workers and those allowed to make the necessary permitted movements. Transport movements in this regard will be allowed to operate from 05h00 to 09h00 and again from 16h00 to 20h00.  
  • Metered Taxis and e-Hailing vehicles must be sanitized after each journey.  The industry will take responsibility for this. Where appropriate government will assist.
  • The number of passengers each vehicle is allowed to carry will be reduced.  A vehicle licensed to carry up to 4 people will only be permitted to load 1 person.  A vehicle licensed to carry up to 8 passengers will only be permitted to load a maximum of 3 passengers.  
  • Sanitizers used in all taxi vehicles must have a minimum of 60% alcohol content.

Buses

  • Limited bus operations will be allowed to transport essential services workers and those allowed to make the necessary permitted movements.

Cross-Border Road Transport

  • All cross-border road passenger movements will be prohibited for the duration of the lockdown.
  • Cross-border freight movement for essential goods will continue to and from our neighbouring countries.  

During the lockdown period most services rendered by our entities will be suspended.  Vehicle Testing Centres and Drivers’ Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs) will be closed.  Should your drivers’ licence expire during the duration of the lockdown it shall be deemed to remain valid until the end of the lockdown, with the grace period of renewal within 14 working days thereafter unless otherwise determined.

We will maintain skeleton staff for purposes of safe road operations, clearing of accidents, maintenance of tunnels as well as road traffic enforcement.

In addition to the measures I have outlined, as a Minister of Transport, I am empowered by the Disaster Management Act Regulations to issue Directions.  I will therefore issue Directions covering the following areas:

  • Movement of cargo (aviation, maritime, road – including cross border).  This will cover measures such as prohibition of crew change and movement of essential cargo across all our modes of transport.
  • Limiting movement of allowed essential public transport to specific times. 
  • Movement of cross-border road transport. 
  • Suspension of services rendered by our entities.  
  • Closure of Vehicle Testing Centres and Drivers’ Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs).  
  • Expiry of drivers licences. 

We are encouraged by the positive response to the existing regulations by all stakeholders.  These include sanitization of taxis and surfaces by the taxi industry and initiatives by e-Hailing providers to assist with transportation relating to healthcare logistics. 

For more information: Ayanda Allie Paine on 072 566 0827

Issued by the GCIS on behalf of the Department of Transport

25 March 2020

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