Updated Covid-19 directives for interprovincial travel for South Africans returning to work or university have been put in place by transport minister Fikile Mbalula.
The new regulations include the mandatory use of face masks, sanitising of passengers before boarding and landing, keeping windows open by at least 5cm, and a 70% loading capacity.
The regulations come into effect immediately, and a violation of the rules would be classified as a criminal offence, Mbalula said.
“Law enforcement authorities will act without fear or favour,” he said.
Mbalula said the regulations were introduced after extensive consultations to contain the spread of the coronavirus within the public transport sphere.
“Consultations with health experts were undertaken and their additional recommendations in the face of the increased loading capacity were duly considered and accepted,” said Mbalula, adding that preserving livelihoods has become much harder while gradually resuming economic activity.
He said both taxi and bus services should always comply with the regulations when travelling across provincial borders.
“Bus, taxi and e-hailing, meter taxis, shuttle services, chauffeur-driven vehicles and scholar transport vehicles are permitted to carry 100% of licensed carry capacity for any trip not regarded as long-distance travel. Long-distance travel refers to a trip that is 200km or longer,” said Mbalula.
Mbalula said the measures put in place were a “necessary evil whose sole purpose is to curb the spread of the virus across provincial epicentres”.
“Our commitment to preserving human life cannot be sacrificed for expediency,” he said.
“Minibus and midibus taxis may not carry more than 70% of their maximum licensed passenger-carrying capacity for long-distance intra-provincial travel and permitted interprovincial travel.
“Long-distance bus services are permitted to carry a maximum of 70% of their permissible passenger-carrying capacity for intra-provincial and permitted interprovincial travel. Long distance rail operations and travel remain prohibited,” Mbalula said.
Under the advanced level 3 regulations, interprovincial travel is allowed for work-related reasons provided there is a requisite permit. Also allowed is crossing borders to and from school or institution, moving to a new place of residence, caring for an immediate family member, returning to a place of residence from a quarantine or isolation facility, movement of children and MPs performing oversight responsibilities.
Mbalula listed updated regulations on how interprovincial travel will work to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus in a public transport vehicle.
Here are 10:
- All operators must ensure public transport vehicles are sanitised before picking up and after dropping off passengers.
- All public transport vehicle windows must be kept 5cm open on both sides.
- All public transport vehicles must be fitted with window jammers or blockers to keep the windows 5cm open.
- Operators must ensure all public transport vehicle doors, window handles, armrests and handrails are sanitised after every load.
- Passengers must be encouraged to sanitise after they enter the vehicle and after getting out of the vehicle.
- Any marshal or security officer who interacts with members of the public in a public transport facility must wear a cloth face mask or a homemade item or another appropriate item that covers nose and mouth and together with face shield.
- Passengers in public transport vehicles are obliged to wear a cloth face mask or a homemade item or another appropriate item that covers nose and mouth throughout the journey.
- No person or passenger will be allowed to use any form of public transport or enter a building, place or premises if they do not wear a cloth face mask or a homemade item or another appropriate item that covers nose and mouth.
- All public transport operators must put measures in place to adhere to physical distancing to curb the spread of the virus.
- Intra-provincial, metropolitan areas and district public transport is permitted to operate without a requirement for a permit.
By Unathi Nkanjeni – TimesLIVE