Gauteng MEC for Health Dr Bandile Masuku has defended the government’s controversial rule that taxis are allowed to operate at 100% capacity provided they keep windows open and everybody wears masks. Masuku was talking to Maverick Citizen editor Mark Heywood during a lunchtime webinar.
New lockdown regulations that allow minibus taxis to operate over short distances, with windows open and with passengers and drivers wearing masks and sanitising their hands was a balancing act, but Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku said he believes it is justified.
“A lot of work was done in this regard,” Masuku said, referring to research on how multidrug-resistant tuberculosis spread in minibus taxis.
“The evidence indicates that with some level of social distancing and ventilation the risk of infection decreases. Those most at risk are the taxi conductors and driver. The regulations were an attempt to mitigate that.”
He said research done in the New York subway system also indicated that there was a decreased chance of infection in densely populated areas if people were moving quickly.
“We could not be absolutist in this regard,” he said. “We had to make sure that we got some form of social cohesion to win this battle.