R1.1 Billion Relief Fund Announced To Cushion COVID Battered Taxi Industry
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said the intervention is part of a list of priorities meant to address problems in the sector.
Image: © Alexey Stiop /123rf.Com
Government has unveiled a R1.1 billion once-off relief fund for the country’s taxi industry.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said the intervention, meant to assist the industry from the negative economic effects COVID-19, is part of a list of priorities meant to address problems in the sector.
Minibus taxi operators, metered taxis and e-hailing services are all eligible for a stake of the fund.
The project has been in the works since the pandemic hit South African shores as the government moved to cushion sectors that were affected by the series of lockdowns put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
A strict criterion has been set up by the National Empowerment Fund which is administering the fund.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said, “The transport sector hasn’t escaped the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people have been left unemployed and are struggling to make ends meet. Despite the odds, our people have remained resilient and hopeful that our collective efforts will sufficiently reignite the economy.”
This is not the first time the government has assisted the taxi industry with billions invested in the decades-old Taxi Recapitalisation Programme which was first launched in 2006.
This £20 John Lewis Cushion Fixed My Lockdown Back Pain
As an office worker who spends the majority of my time hunched over a screen, my posture has never been exemplary. But the last 10 months have made the undesirable slouching of my spine even more pronounced – and worse, I developed back pain for the first time in my adult life.
I’m not alone – a survey of 2,000 adults published in October 2020 shows that 36 per cent of adults experienced increased pain during lockdown, with back pain cited as the most common complaint. A quarter of those polled cited their home working set-up as the cause, and this was certainly part of the problem for me.
My compact one-bedroom flat has no space for a proper desk, so my kitchen table became my office, and an £11 wooden Ikea folding chair my seat for at least eight hours of the day. Teamed with a sharp increase in evenings spent on the cheap landlord-provided sofa and the disappearance of the gym from my usual daily routine, tightness quickly set in across my lower back, and refused to ease with any of the usual remedies your average Google search offers up.
Read more: How to avoid back pain while working from home
As a bonafide lockdown cliche, I was already well into my fifth cycle of Yoga With Adriene’s 30 Day series, but the stretches started causing twinges rather than relief. I invested in a riser for my laptop (this one, from Amazon), which gave my sloping shoulders some temporary relief, but the discomfort in my coccyx stubbornly stayed present.
Realistically, I knew that a proper ergonomic chair was the only real long-term answer, but with limited space and budget, I dropped £20 on an ergonomic back pillow from John Lewis & Partners (which was still offering click and collect at the time) as a last-ditch attempt before spending the big bucks. And lo and behold, it worked; here’s what you need to know.
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(John Lewis & Partners)
The John Lewis & Partners specialist synthetic lumbar support pillow, to give it its official title, is a small, supportive memory foam pillow designed to fit the curve of your lower back. It comes with a removable, washable grey jersey cover and an adjustable strap that allows you to fix it to the back of most shapes and sizes of chair (even the flimsy folding number I’d been resting my weary bones on for the last six months). It’s not high-tech or flashy, but it doesn’t need to be – it provides just the right balance of firmness and comfort, propping me up at an angle a normal throw cushion can’t quite seem to offer, no matter how many different ways I attempt to squash it down.
The pillow does lose its shape slightly with prolonged use, but this seems to be more adjustment to my body shape, rather than a detriment to the quality. I noticed an instant impact from day one, but it’s also had a progressive effect, and the more regularly I use it, the less fussy my back seems to be.
Other reviewers agree that it “makes sitting for a prolonged time much more tolerable” – “it’s helped my posture so much and removed stress on my back” says one. In fact, the cushion currently has an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars on the John Lewis & Partners website, with customers celebrating the fact that they’ve used it successfully at their desk, on the couch and even in the car.
If your frame is bigger than mine (5”6, size 16, essentially an average build plus biscuits) you might find that the cushion is a little too small for you, but for the vast majority, it makes a nifty – and much more affordable – alternative to forking out on actual furniture.
While I can’t give them my personal endorsement, the £20 John Lewis & Partners specialist synthetic neck support pillow and £50 John Lewis & Partners specialist synthetic reading support pillow from the same collection are also both highly praised by shoppers, suggesting that the retailer has brought many of us comfort outside of the realm of mindful jigsaw puzzles and cosseting bath products in recent months – quite literally having our backs throughout this time of crisis.
If you’ve got a little more space for your home working set-up, check out our round-up of the best standing desks
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.
Free Webinar About How A Cooling Wheelchair Backrest Cushion Can Help With Heat And Epilepsy
WheelAir, which creates an innovative cooling backrest cushion to ensure wheelchair users do not overheat, is hosting a free webinar on 12 January 2022 for delegates to learn about the relationship between heat, epilepsy and WheelAir.
Entitled ‘Heat, Epilepsy, and WheelAir’, interested participants can register to join the free Zoom webinar, which takes place on 12 January 2022 at 12.30pm, here.
The WheelAir system is the first temperature and moisture control system designed to fit any wheelchair. It disperses air evenly across the seat surface to lower the client’s temperature, remove moisture build-up, and keep skin dry and clean.
According to WheelAir, when the body overheats, there is an increased risk of developing a seizure. For those with epilepsy, the risk of experiencing a seizure is even more likely when they have a difficult time managing their body temperature, for example, due to close fitting seating systems, environmental temperature, or medication.
During the webinar, WheelAir will discuss the relationship between epilepsy and heat, how this works, who is more vulnerable, prevention methods, and the influence of the WheelAir system on temperature.
There will be case studies showing the effect of heat and moisture regulation with epilepsy patients, and healthcare professionals will learn how to score the general heat and moisture risk of their client with the company’s risk matrix.
Register for the webinar here.
Last year, WheelAir launched a rigid back integration service for all wheelchairs to keep users cool and comfortable. It means WheelAir’s innovative cooling airflow system can be fitted to any wheelchair and seating configuration, which was previously difficult to achieve due to the nature of customisation.