Covid-19 City updates

PLEASE NOTE: This document contains only provisional information for each country, based on the information that our in-country teams have been able to access.  We hope to provide updates of this information approximately at fortnightly intervals. 

Covid-19 and transport in the Republic of South Africa. Cape Town.

Draft report 18.7.2020-31.7.2020

South Africa – Cape Town

Current cases in South Africa [31.7.2020]: 482, 169

Current deaths in South Africa [31.7.2020]: 7812

Government initiatives

31.7.2020. 10.000 informal traders will in the coming weeks be given tool hits to prevent the spread of covid-19. 3 litres of hand sanitizer, ‘a social distancing mat’, two cloth masks, a tool kit bag and a beanie with information correct use. The first phrase of beneficiaries include those who live in the worst hotspot areas. Those who are in possession of permits will be contacted via sms to hear if they are interested in collecting the tool kits.

29.7.2020. On Wednesday the 29.7.2020 the city of Cape Town announced that they will update informal settlements. The council wants to build 400 houses for a disadvantaged community.

26.7.2020. The Cape Coloured People’s Congress says it plans to shut down operations (eg. the metro) due to poor service delivery in coloured communities and unemployment. The major of Cape Town, Plato says that the police must stop the organisers in their attacks.


27.7.2020. Protests are taking place in Cape Town. A group called Gatvol Capetonian at the metro, but other protests took place in other parts of the city – they are protesting to raise awareness of backyard dweller’s plight. Some roads have been closed.

25.7.2020. A shopright truck was petrol bombed. Protests are taking place, and vehicles are being stoned. The protests are reportedly related to land invasion.


Draft report 4.7.2020-17.7.2020

Current cases 17.7.2020: 324,221

Current deaths 17.7.2020:4669

Government initiatives:

13.7.2020. The Minister of social development Lindiwe Zulu makes a statement about the payment of the Special Covid-19 Relief of distress grant. They have received over 7.5 million of applications through USSD, digital, whatsapp and email. 4.423720 of these have been approved.  Lindiwe Zulu has announced a universal income grant to help the country’s unemployed. She did not say what the size of it would be or how it would be funded, but is expected to be paid post October 2020. This is still not approved.

13.7.2020. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on the 12 July in the evening that there is a ban on alcohol sales and distribution, as well as a curfew from 21:00 to 04:00. Taxis can operate at 100% capacity over short distances and at 70% capacity over long distances. Taxi drivers are responsible that passengers wear masks. All non-essential movement is not allowed during the curfew. Those travelling during these times must have a permit that verifies that they are performing an essential service.  It is required to wear a mask or cloth to cover the nose and mouth in public.

7.7.20. Taxi violence in Western Cape has claimed the lives of 40 operators since January. Transport MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela held a meeting on the 6. July with the taxi associations yesterday in an attempt to resolve the shootings. The article in Cape Times has no mention of covid in relation to this. The national Joint Operational and intelligence structure made up of various government departments issued directions to law enforcement agencies that the national truck shutdown should be policed efficiently.


15.7.2020. Professor Shabir Madhi, professor of vaccinology at the University of the Witwatersrand says that the government’s new approach that allows taxis to operate at 100% capacity is not backed up by science. Madhi is a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) but did not speak on behalf of this.

A survey has been conducted in Cape Town (Nids gram survey) during lockdown. It reports a significant increase in hunger and unemployment (3 million jobs lost and 1.5 million workers furloughed).

14.7.2020.  My city bus fares have reduced since the introduction of covid-19 due to the drop for fuel worldwide. A monthly pass is reduced fromR850 to R790. Micity busses are limited to 50% capacity.

13.7.2020 The South African Bus operators’ associations (SABOA) says that it costs about 1.3 million rand every day for the contracted public bus transport sector to adhere to the hygiene and safety procedures implemented during covid-19. There are 7500 contracted busses. The manager says that SABOA has requested financial assistance from the government. Saboa is involved with the national, economic and labour council/Business for Africa in finding equitable relief measures for the industry but no aid package has been approved.

11.7.2020. There have been violent attacks against freight road operators in the last few weeks in Cape Town. The attacks have been condemned by the government.

8.7.2020. The website cape Talk reports that traffic on weekdays has recovered to 65% of normal levels- an increase since May (40%)

1.7.2020. Metrorail started operating at limited services in Western Cape -96 days after it stopped its service.


MyCiTi fares cheaper in July 2020

Draft report 23.6.2020-3.7.2020

South Africa

Current cases (3.7.2020): 168.061

Current deaths (3.7.2020): 2844

Government regulations

1 July: South Africa’s health minister warns that they might reinstate the lockdown if the coronavirus cases/deaths continue to rise.

23 June: The Transport and Public works MEC, Bongingkosi Madikizela met local taxi industry role players at a taxi rank and said that Santaco (the South African National Taxi council) had agreed not to advise its members to go on strike because the transport and public works department was engaging with them in good faith. According to Bongingkosi a relief fund for the taxi industry is insufficient and was not intended to compensate for loss of income. He said that grants could be utilized through Red Dot system launched on the 18 May, a system that transports health care workers. Santaco, in western Cape, has agreed that they will not hike fares for commuters, since they are transporting the poorest of the poor.


30 June: The South African transport and allied worker’s union (SATAWU) in Western Cape has said that employees working for the bus company Golden Arrow fear that 300 of them will be fired. The union representative said that five transport workers at Golden Arrow have died and 100 infected.

29 June: Taxi operators (the South African National Taxi Council and the National Taxi allowance) have decided to go against lockdown rules and fill their taxies to 100% capacity on Monday the 29 June 2020. They are not happy that airlines can fill their planes, whereas they can’t fill their vehicles. Western Cape National taxi council announced that they have lost a lot of income due to the pandemic.

24 June:  Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT) restores its berthing ‘gangs’ to five following staff shortage after covid.

21 June: On Saturday the 20 June Micity busses were stoned and set alight by protesters in Cape Town (Milnerton and Dunoon)

10 June: Santaco (South Africa National Taxi allowance) will hold a press briefing on the 15June and will discuss fare increases. Initial reports on a massive protest to be held on the 22 June remains unconfirmed.

19 June: In a video, residents of Kayelitsha, one of Cape Town’s townships, explain the fear of entering taxis, touching surfaces and standing in lines without social distancing.


South Africa

Draft report 6.6.-23.6.2020

Current cases (23.6.2020): 101,590

Current deaths (23.6.2020): 1,991

Government regulations

21-22.6.2020. Thousands of taxi commuters are left stranded in Gauteng due to a lockdown and a taxi strike after a stalemate with the government over a covid-19 relief packing. The police are throwing rubber bullets due to protests. Taxi ranks are still open in Cape Town but not in Gauteng. The government condemns the violence.

19.6.2020. Exercise is permitted at all time in South Africa which was previously restricted to certain times of the day. People are still encouraged to stay at home, and have to wear a mask when they go out. Parks, beaches and other public places remain closed in Cape Town.

15.6.2020. The minister for women, youth and persons with disabilities recommends people to have a friend or relative to call if they need help and create a code to get in contact with a safe person. The minister urges communities to work with the police to report tip-offs.

13.6.2020: The minister for women, youth and persons with disabilities speaks up about gender-based violence in South Africa and the need for action. She mentions that the Cabinet approved the gender-based violence Policy Framework in Post-School Education and Training System. The incoming council is setting up a gender-based violence fund.

12.6.2020. The department of transport intends to take over the functioning of the public transport networks that are struggling in five cities. This includes mainly bus transit systems (BRTs). They are also looking at high speed rail systems.


16.6.2020. Families are spending 30 % more on food, and many families run short of food within 2 weeks, a researcher (Julie Smith) highlights on a radio show. The minimal wages are R3247 and the cost of a food basket is slightly more. The lockdown is affecting women and young people in particular. They can no longer shop in several shops to save money but due to transport regulations, they must stick to one shop.

15.6.2020 Gender based violence and killings have increased during lockdown especially against women and children.

An article (in Good governance Africa – gga) highlights the constitutional issues that have issues following police arrests. Most of the lockdown regulations issued by Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma were declared unlawful in terms of the Disaster Management Act, and the minister now has to review and amend this.

10 June. The airports are working on extra security when international travel opens beyond business travel. This will involve travellers scanning their own boarding passes and handling their own luggage when being scanned


Draft report 23.5-5.6.2020

Confirmed cases (5.6.2020): 40,792

Confirmed deaths (5.6.2020): 848

1.6.2020. Businesses can operate and workers can travel to and from work. Employers have to issue permits when employees have to travel to hot spots, e.g. travelling between provinces, metropolitan areas and hotspots but this is a cautious approach. Businesses and institutions with more than 100 employees have to minimize workers at the workplace, e.g. by introducing shifts and the rotation of workers. The president announced that the country will go from level 4 to level 3 on the first of June. Following this, there are changes in the transport sector. Long distance public transport will be allowed to operate as there will an increase of learners returning to school. Such travel is restricted to people undertaking work permitted under alert level 3. Persons who are moving to a new place of residence. Those who are caring for immediate family members. Learners who are returning to schools or higher learning institutions. The movement of children. Members of parliament performing oversight duties.  The attendance of funeral. Transportation of mortals remains. Transport for obtaining medical treatment is allowed. Transport for persons returning to their place of residence from a quarantine facility.  Public transport is permitted throughout the day but some restrictions are in place. Minibus-taxis can take 70% of their loading capacity. Buses must take only 50% of their loading capacity, taking standing passengers into account. E-hailing and metred taxis, shuttle, chauffer and charter services can take 50% of their capacity. Only vessels that bring in cargo are permitted to operate at the ports. Limited domestic air travel will be allowed. International travel is prohibited


3.6. 2020. Bolt reduces it transport fares to receive more customers (email advertising).

3.6. 2020.Yebo fresh (a local delivery service) is helping townships access food

25.5.2020. The lift of the e-commerce ban has been a lifeline for contactless drivers doing deliveries.—transport-organiza.html

Draft report 9.5-22.5.2020

South Africa

Current cases (22.5.2020): 19.137

Current deaths (22.5.2020): 369

Government measures

21.5.2020: The city of Cape Town’s homepage describes the following measures when taking public transport. You should not travel if you are ‘vulnerable’ (ill or 60 years and above). You should avoid contact with others and stay 2 metres apart. You should wear a mask, open the windows to allow air to circulate the vehicle, avoid touching surfaces e.g. handrails and doors, use exact money for bus fares as well as hygiene measures – washing your hands, sneezing into a tissue/elbow and hand washing.


The National Taxi Alliance (NTA) and SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) have welcomed proposed financial support by the government to the taxi industry during the lockdown.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said he would outline his plans next week on how the government would financially support the industry during the lockdown.


19.5.2020: A red dot taxi service is launched to provide transport for health care workers – comprising 100 minibuses. They will follow strict safety/hygiene protocols

15.5. 2020:Screening and testing measures have been introduced at MyCiti and Golden Arrow Bus service depots for staff, along with putting up lines for social distance adhering at 42 public transport interchanges across the city. Members of the committee on governance and traditional affairs held a meeting with the metros. The committee members appealed to the metros to ensure hard monitoring

11.5.2020.  A website outlines what employers must do during covid19. The department of corporative governance published the following rules on the 29 April. The employers must provide safe transport for employees including: personal hygiene, social distancing, arrangements to minimize exposure associated with commuting (cloth masks and PPE)

Draft report 25.4.2020-8.5.2020

South Africa

8.4.2020. Cases: 8232. Deaths 161.

1.5.2020. South Africa has moved to level 4 of the lockdown. This means that local transport allowed to operate but social distancing measures apply, and with a restricted number of passengers. Rail, ocean, and road transport is permitted for cargo. Repatriation flights will be allowed. For people in the catering sector, they can do deliveries only. People are allowed to leave their house between 6 am and 9 am for exercise in their neighbourhood, and there will be a night curfew between 8 pm and 5 am. Businesses can resume, e.g. mines, factories and agricultural businesses, but they can start with only a third of their employees. South African citizens can return home on repatriation flights but need to be quarantined. Postal services and courier services are allowed.

No crowds are allowed. Hairdressers, hotels and guesthouses cannot start their businesses.  The ban on international and domestic flight travel remains. Recreational visits are not allowed. No travel between provinces is permitted, except if there are exceptional circumstances. Schools are still shut, but should reopen on the 1 June (grade 7-12 only).Facemasks are mandatory in public.


28 April: Violent crime, and traffic accidents drop most likely due to restrictions on movement and the ban of the sale of alcohol. Domestic violence increases. People in poor neighbourhoods struggle to find food. Charitable individuals trying to deliver food experience harassment from the police.


Draft report 11.4-24.4.2020

South Africa

3953 cases 24.4.2020

75 deaths 24.4.2020

23 April: The president announced that the lockdown will move from stage 5 to stage 4 on 1 May allowing some businesses to open, and people to go for a walk, under strict measures. More will be updated later on this issue, as the discussions are still taking place.

21 April: The president announced a 500 billion rand ($26.3 billion) rescue package equivalent to 10% of the GDP. 250,000 food parcels will be distributed in the coming weeks.

16 April: The minister of Cooperative Governance made some amendments to the regulations allowing the transport of essential goods and cargo.

10 April. The decision to extend South Africa’s lockdown until the end of April will create an economic disaster, the main opposition party has warned.

7 April. The minister of transport has announced:

(1) A public transport sedan is limited to carrying not more than 50% of its

permissible passenger carrying capacity.

(2) During the lockdown period, the following public transport vehicles must

not carry more than 70% of their maximum licensed passenger seating

capacity as follows:

(a) A minibus licensed to carry 10 passengers, is limited to carry a

maximum of 7 passengers;

(b) a minibus licensed to carry 15 passengers, is limited to carry the

maximum of 10 passengers; and

(c) a minibus licensed to carry a maximum of 22 passengers, is

limited to carry a maximum of 15 passengers.

(3) All public transport operators must put measures in place to adhere to

social distancing to curb the spread of COVID -19.


Draft report 1.4-10.4.

Current cases (10.4. 2020). 2003. Deaths 24.

Government implementations

8.4.2020. The president is waiting for scientific evidence to make the decision about whether the lockdown should be extended beyond 16 April.

6.4.2020. Nothing but essential movement is permitted. There is a ban on buying alcohol and cigarettes. No jogging, dog walking or leaving the home except for essential trips is allowed. Prison and fines for law breaking.

3.4. 2020. More than 17.000 have been arrested for defying the lockdown restrictions

2.4.2020. Essential workers still need to travel and rely on transportation. On Wednesday the 1.4. the transport minister allowed the taxis to load at full capacity, but later in the evening took this out of effect (now 70% capacity)


25.4.2020. Our in-country team sends material about one of the townships we worked in. There seems to be no government intervention so far (the link not included due to our need to preserve the anonymity of our research sites)


Draft report 1.3-31.3.2020

Government requirements:

30.3. 2020: 1280 cases. From the 30.3 to the 3.4. busses and taxis will be allowed to operate to cater for the most vulnerable from 5 am to 8 am. (e.g. child grants and grants for the elderly).

23.3.2020. The president announced a national lockdown. No one can leave their homes for 21 days unless under strictly controlled circumstances, including seeking medical care, buying food, medicine or other supplies and collecting social grants. Health workers, emergency personnel and security services (police, traffic officers, military medical personnel and soldiers) are exempted from the lockdown. It will still be possible to get grants (selected days), and homeless shelters and food banks will be available. Pharmacies, banks, supermarkets, petrol stations and health care providers will remain open “non-essential shops will be closed.

20.3.2020. The president announced that foreign nationals travelling from Italy, Iran, South Korea, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and China have been banned from travelling to South Africa. Anyone returning to South Africa from these high-risk countries will be quarantined for 14 days.

19.3. 2020. The minister of transport said the number of people in trains will have to be reduced, and trains might be stopped at a later stage if necessary. There should be no more than 100 people in a space. Universities and schools have closed. This will involve students travelling home

16.3. 2020. The government will strengthen surveillance, screening and testing measures at OR Tambo, Cape Town and King Shaka International Airports. Of the 53 land ports, 35 have been shut. 2 of the 8 seaports will be closed for passengers and crew changes.

16.3.2020. The Cross-border road transport agency (C-BRTA) will ensure screening of truck drivers at in-land borders.

15.3.2020. The South African president said the country is in a state of national disaster. The minister of transport announced the requirement to keep both international and national travel to a minimum (air, rail, taxis, bus]. Travel to work is allowed currently. He said the government will be sanitizing trains, mini-busses and plans and giving surgical masks to staff members. Every train to be cleaned at the end of a trip.

Transport associations

20. 3.2020: South African Airways cancels all international flights

19.3. 2020. The national taxi alliance are requesting proper entrance systems at taxi ranks and financial support.The NTA are partnering with an organisation (Onqela [spelling unknown] 24.22 in podcast link below]) that developed an app that could inform passengers about corona. The NTA is engaging with taxi owners, and wants to teach the public that they have to maintain distance. Drivers are being encouraged by NTA to put on masks and gloves and sanitize vehicles. Passenger should bring exact fare and pay outside the bus to limit infection.

19.3.2020. Uber and Bolt have closed service centres, and encourage drivers to clean cars and hands. However, according to a radio show, uber/bolt refused to appear on a radio show unlike the taxi and train association, and had not given any recommendations to drivers, nor provided equipment.

16.3.2020. The in country-fieldwork had to stop, as it involved face-to-face contact with vulnerable groups. The national lockdown now also means no one will be allowed to move around for these purposes anymore.

12.3.2020: South African airways crew give out masks to passengers displaying symptoms, and the airline staff use gloves.

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