Santaco: Joburg taxi strike is legal

The N1 at Allendale is still barricaded southbound while all lanes have been opened on the northern side.

Taxis hold up traffic on N1 Northbound after the Maraisburg Interchange. Picture: @itrafficgp/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – The South African National Taxi Association (Santaco) insists its strike is under control and has strongly denied that its drivers are involved in barricading several highways across Gauteng.

The N1 at Allandale is still barricaded southbound while all lanes have been opened on the northern side.

Santaco’s Thulani Qwabe is adamant the strike is legal.

“We’re not blockading. We have heard that trucks have been used to block the N1 and we’re looking into that to resolve it together with the police as soon as possible. So we’re still following the plan.”

But authorities say taxis are now driving extremely slowly and causing major traffic backlogs.

The Johannesburg Metro Police Department’s Edna Momonyane says: “Our freeway patrols have gone there to try and see how they can try and make sure that those taxis are moved so that the traffic can flow.”

Midrand is one the worst-affected areas.

Residents who depend on public transport in and around Midrand can be seen standing on both sides of Allandale Road leading onto the N1 highway.

Some are trying desperately to hitch-hike along the route but traffic is hardly morning.

Motorists have also now resorted to using the emergency lane to try and get through the traffic.

LISTEN: Santaco: We're following the plan

At the same time, some taxi drivers are intimidating motorists in Olievenhoutbosch and motorists not being allowed to drive out of the township.

Motorists who pass by the taxi rank are being told to go back as taxis barricade the roads.

Eyewitness News has witnessed a group of taxi drivers crushing a passerby’s phone for allegedly taking videos of the blockade.

Hundreds of commuters are seen gathering next to the local police station, seemingly stranded.

Private vehicles are returning to the township, with the main road leading out of Olievenhoutbosh currently blocked by a convoy of taxis.

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Long queues are snaking around the Noord Taxi rank where drivers have parked their vehicles.

Santaco members are now making their way to Midrand to join their colleagues in a mass march.

Commuters say they have been told to make alternative plans as all routes now lead straight to the South African Taxi Finance offices in Midrand.

Frustrated workers and school children are still waiting in queues here in the hopes of catching.

One man says he doesn’t know how he will get to work this morning.

Metro police officers are also here closely monitoring the situation.

Meanwhile, the Gauteng Traffic Department's Obed Sibasa has warned motorist to avoid the Midrand area where police are investigating an apparent shooting.

“It’s alleged that there was shooting earlier this morning from a taxi trying to scare people from not going to work, however, police are investigating.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)