On Tuesday morning, Twitter was in a tizz over rumours that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s son had received a R6m ‘tender’ to equip taxis with Covid-19 ventilation…

The Twitter storm accused Andile Ramaphosa of corruption, and benefitting from the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the source of the controversy was an article by Business Insider which was headlined “Gauteng taxis are being fitted with anti-Covid tech in a R6m project – led by Ramaphosa’s son“.

The project – which will cost R6m – is actually being headed up by non-profit organisation Supplier Development Initiatives (SDI). The organisation was founded by Andile Ramaphosa, and Brad Fisher in partnership with FNB and Bridge Taxi Force.

According to the organisation’s mandate, “We focus on providing market access & market participation as the most critical step towards developing Black suppliers. Providing Black suppliers with avenues to trade their products and services with large corporates whilst growing their business.”

Co-founder Brad fisher was interviewed on eNCA about the taxi safety equipment:

“If people sit in an environment where there’s no ventilation, the viral load will increase. In just 20 minutes, people will get sick,” said Brad Fisher in an interview with eNCA three days ago.

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“It’s urgent that the taxis are fitted with an air ventilation system and a barrier between the driver and the passengers,” says Fisher. “The driver will see around 2000 people per month, so the first thing we’ve got to do is separate the driver from the people.”

The organisation is also installing a sanitisation station at the door of taxis, and air vents in the windows of the taxis to ensure air flow throughout.  According to the Business Insider report, the cost of outfitting each taxi amounts to around R1000 per vehicle. The organisation hopes to equip 6 000 taxis in total. This was confirmed by the Road Traffic Infringement Agency.

On 19 July, the organisation fitted 210 taxis to promote the #safepassagetowork programme.

Ventilation is vital to ensure the safety of all passengers in the vehicle.

In the interview below, one of the taxi drivers at Bara Taxi Rank whose vehicle has been fitted with the safety equipment says he’s happy with the initiative.

“I am okay about it because it will help protect us from this virus that is making us sick. But the passengers will complain about the air because it is cold,” said the driver.

Ventilation is vital to ensure the safety of all passengers in the vehicle.

Twitter outcry

On Tuesday morning, Andile Ramaphosa was trending as some South Africans believed that the son of the president had received a pricey tender. However, many came out in support of the NGO’s initiative and encouraged those who were complaining to first check their facts.