Taxi strike results in chaos on Joburg roads

Taxi drivers have embarked on a strike this morning leaving thousands of commuters stranded.

Taxis blocking the M1 Crown Interchange near Xavier Street in Johannesburg during a taxi strike. Picture: M Ismail

JOHANNESBURG - Anger is mounting on Johannesburg roads as motorists and stranded commuters face the effects of what seems to be the start of a mass taxi strike.

Operators blocked parts of the N12 east and M1 north highways near the Southgate Shopping Centre this morning.

It's understood taxi drivers have embarked on a go-slow, leaving thousands stranded as no warning was given.

There have also been reports of none-striking taxi drivers being intimidated and fleeing their vehicles.

Its now emerged they're protesting against e-tolls and driver permits.

Taxi owners say they've had several run-ins with police leading to their permits being confiscated and they're now saying enough is enough.

They say whenever they buy new vehicles, their old permits are not transferred and this leads to run-ins with Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD).

They're also demanding the scrapping of the e-toll system and the immediate reinstatement of their permits.

Commuters in parts of the province have had to find alternative transport due to the strike.

Drivers say this is the only way to get through to government about their grievances.

M1 HIGHWAY RE-OPENED

JMPD confirmed that an earlier blockage on the M1 north near Xavier street offramp has been cleared.

Scores of taxi's blocked the highway as they made their way to Newtown for a strike and march to the Transport MEC's office.

JMPD's Wayne Minaar says the taxi industry applied for all the necessary permits for today's action.

"There will be several Rea Vaya bus routes that will be affected by this. Motorists are also advised to make use of alternative routes from now this until about 3pm."

The N12 Highway is also at complete standstill as taxi operators make their way out of Soweto to the transport department's offices.

Taxi drivers and owners have filled mini bus taxis as they prepare to deliver a memorandum of grievances.

Dressed in white t-shirts which reads "no e-tolls" and "we want our permits" the taxi drivers say this is the only way government will hear them.

Meanwhile, commuters are taking to Twitter to vent their frustration and also issue warnings to other commuters of which areas to avoid:

RT @TrafficSA: JHB - #TaxiStrike RT @Ms_UndaStanding Nancefield hostel in Soweto is a mess right now , taxi-owners fighting Reya Vaya bus

@ewnupdates #TaxiStrike Absolutely terrible in Soweto Glen area vans are giving us lifts taxi drivers ar stoping nd taking us out...Furious

Ekurhuleni metro needs to do something about the lack of transport #TaxiStrike pic.twitter.com/qChSDNwwfq

Commuters Stranded at bree taxi rank #TaxiStrike @702JohnRobbie pic.twitter.com/LnXOQIylyV

@ewnupdates Taxis blocking the road by Diepkloof #TaxiStrike

@ewnupdates three thugs on Jan Smuts by M1 offramp intimidating a taxi driver who fled his vehicle.

Writing at 09:h00 & there are no taxi. I am at end of the queue eish #TaxiStrike pic.twitter.com/EBRJ4WxISp

@ewnupdates highway blocked totally at Shakespeare bridge avoid m1 north