Shop owners, commuters and taxi operators in Indian Centre got to interact and share their concerns with Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (Ledet) MEC Thabo Mokone when he visited the area this afternoon (Monday).
The purpose of the exercise was to monitor compliance to all applicable laws within the 21 days of lockdown. Although the area was somewhat crowded as commuters were waiting for public transport to their respective homes, Mokone was delighted that residents were starting to heed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call as they were spotted wearing safety gear and used sanitizers when entering and exiting shops.
He commended one store that was giving shoppers masks when they enter the outlet saying such deeds should be exercised by all the shopping outlets in the province to keep people safe. He, however, stressed that political heads encounter teething problems in some areas but members of the executive council as deployed by Premier Stan Mathabatha were able to deal with them and educate residents about the dangers of Coronavirus. Mokone went on to applaud taxi operators for sticking to seven passengers per trip saying this will help fight the spread of the virus.
On the other hand, taxi operators who spoke to Polokwane Observer stressed that the law enforcers were forcing them to load six passengers rather than seven as per the initial arrangement and this negatively affects the already wounded industry. Taxi owner Steward Matlou and taxi marshall, Calvin Madume affiliated to Moletjie Taxi Association stressed that the taxi industry have been complying with the regulations from day one but they were surprised when the Police and traffic officers demand that a taxi should transport six people. The duo stressed that this will ‘kill’ the taxi industry as they pleaded with law enforcers to cooperate and work hand in glove with public transport operators.
Ledet Director for Business Regulation Dion Pelser emphasised that there was an improvement in terms of compliance from businesses and reiterated that he was confident that all companies will soon follow suit and do things according to the law. One store manager Rafik Seedat informed Polokwane Observer that the outlet started taking safety measures after hearing about the first cases of the virus in the country. He added that they give customers masks and sanitize their hands when they enter and leave the store. Seedat further explained that only 50 shoppers are allowed at the store at a time and the rest have to queue outside and they are required to keep a one metre social distance.
Story: Endy Senyatsi