JHB taxi drivers block N1, N12, Golden Highway in protest over vehicle payments

Santaco argues that the monthly instalments on the Toyota Quantum’s it uses are simply unaffordable.

Taxi drivers blocked all major roads in and out of Midrand and some parts of the N1 in their strike about the Toyota Quantum mini-buses being overpriced. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG – Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) say taxi drivers have blocked the N1 highway in both directions at the Allandale off-ramp in Midrand.

The protest is causing traffic delays on the N12 East, the Golden Highway and Nirvana near Lenasia.

Drivers affiliated to South Africa National Taxi Council (Santaco) have gone on strike on Thursday morning after talks with SA Taxi Finance Holdings deadlocked.

The association argues that the monthly instalments on the Toyota Quantums it uses are simply unaffordable.

The JMPD’s Wayne Minaar says: “The N1 North and South at Allandale Road off-ramp have been completely blocked. The police officers have been sent to that spot.”

WATCH: EWN's Aki Anastasiou and Karabo Tjale give an update on the traffic situation across Gauteng around 7am.

Taxi drivers are expected to march to the holding’s offices in Midrand later on this morning.

Taxi operators have complained that Toyota Quantum mini-buses are overpriced at R15,000 per month over a period of 72 months.

In a statement, the association is warning that none of its taxis will be running then and has apologised in advance for any inconvenience.

However, the Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) say there have not received any notice for a march.

TMPD spokesperson Isaac Mahamba said: “We would like to state categorically as TMPD that we did not approve any march by any taxi association tomorrow. If that [the march] happens, we’d like to state that it might be illegal.”

At the same time, motorists are stuck in traffic while commuters have been left to make alternative plans.

The JMPD’s Edna Mamonyane is warning motorists not to confront strikers.

“We urge motorists not to force their way through because sometimes it might not be safe, people must be very careful.

“We’d rather people negotiate with the employer than let something happen to them like being injured or even being killed in the process because we’ve seen that happening in the past.”

Gautrain buses are not operating due to the impact of the taxi strike this morning.

Spokesperson Kesagee Nayager says the trains will, however, run according to a normal schedule.

“Currently we’ve stopped services in Pretoria because we had taxi association that was actually in our station stopping us from operating.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)