With South Africa experiencing the third wave of COVID-19, Acting Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, has called on the business sector to comply with the Alert Level 3 regulations as the country continues to fight the pandemic.
“Taverns, shebeens, bars and alcohol establishments have become super spreaders themselves because [there is] no social distancing, we need to manage the number of people that go into these facilities, we can do better,” Ntshavheni said on Thursday.
Addressing a media briefing following law enforcement operations to monitor compliance with COVID-19 regulations at Pretoria taxi ranks, the Minister urged the liquor industry to enforce the regulations at its establishments.
“We understand that we need to balance saving lives and saving livelihoods. We need to try as a nation, business, government and society to [avoid going] back into a hard lockdown so that we can save jobs.
“If we all play our part, we will defeat this pandemic, we will make sure that [the] economy remains open and we will all be safe. If government is given a choice to save livelihoods or to save lives, we will choose to save lives because livelihoods we can rebuilt and lives we cannot rebuilt,” Ntshavheni said.
She commended the taxi industry for ensuring compliance with regulations.
During the ongoing operations to monitor compliance with government regulations and directions as the country remains under Level 3 lockdown of government’s risk adjusted strategy, Ntshavheni was joined by Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula, Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport, Jacob Mamabolo and Gauteng MEC responsible for Health, Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi.
“In playing our part towards halting the rapid spread of the pandemic, it is important that we strengthen compliance with health protocols. We have always made a commitment that we will not allow any mode of transport to be the enabler of the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
“We have put strong measures in the transport sector, which include capacity restrictions. While these have contained the spread of the pandemic through your taxis, we are under no illusion about the devastating impact these had in your business,” Mbalula said.
Non-pharmaceutical measures that South Africans can comply with to prevent the virus include social distancing, wearing cloth masks to cover one's nose, mouth and chin, washing hands with soap for 20 seconds, and or using a 70% alcohol-based sanitiser.
Mbalula said government remains encouraged by the co-operation, support and innovative leadership shown by the taxi industry in ensuring the safety of the commuting public and adherence to the rules.
“As a sector, we carry the burden of enabling economic activity whilst containing the spread of the virus. The 2020 National Travel Household Survey tells us that the market share of the taxi industry in transporting workers has increased from 67.6% in 2013 to 80.2% in 2020,” he said.
Source: South African Government News Agency