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Taxi owners want to be heard


Matseliso Sehloho

One of the vulnerable business sectors crying foul over the implementation of the Alert Level Purple Lockdown is the public transport industry.

Operators have bemoaned lockdowns all the time since the past administration saying that being barred from carrying passengers to their vehicles’ full capacity is negatively impacting on their businesses.

According to the Maseru Region Transport Operators (MRTO) in attempts to appeal to the government to be given a chance to trade on full capacity, they had approached the minister of Transport TÅ¡oeu Mokeretla, together with his Principal Secretary (PS) Thlopheo Sefali and the director of transport.

MRTO spokesperson, Lebohang Moea indicated that they have been running their businesses at a losfor most of last year now this year too.

“We have been in loss for over a year as taxi owners, and we have endured through it all hoping that when the rules loosen for other businesses we would be considered also,” Moea said.

In the latest public address on the state of the Covid-19 prevalence, the Premier Dr Moeketsi Majoro had indicated that even though the country was moving to an improved level, conditions would remain the same for public transport.

“We now feel like the corona virus is transmitted in the taxi industry only,” he said.

He said they feel unfairly treated and hard-done. He said for instance, there government employees who are not putting in as much effort as their payment, yet transport operators are the ones always suffering.

“All police officers only spend 14 days at work and the rest of the ten days relaxing at their respective homes, but at the end of the month they get their full salaries”, Lashed Moea.

“I have a 15-seater taxi that has not been in its full capacity usage in over a year, but the tax payment is still the same, the government does not subsidies at all, we still pay full tax even though we have been operating at a loss since the first lockdown in March 2020.

In an effort to try and rescue the wailing industry, the MRTO joint hands in efforts to get in talks with the government to loosen the still tight lockdown rules towards the public transportation industry.

He said it was at the meeting where they learned from the minister that NACOSEC had misrepresented transport operators by claiming that the two parties had actually agreed on those operational terms.

Moea said the arrangement was never agreed upon, thus NACOSEC did not tell the whole truth to the Cabinet.

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