Gauteng MEC lashes Santaco over conduct during taxi strike

MEC for Community Safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane says the strike has a negative impact on the economy since Gauteng is the economic hub of the country.

Thousands of motorists were stranded around Gauteng when key routes were blocked. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The Gauteng government says it is disappointed by the violent protests on provincial roads while South African National Taxi Association (Santaco) taxi drivers were marching to South African Taxi Finance Holdings on Thursday.

Motorists and ordinary citizens have seen more intimidation and major freeway blockages by Santaco members who prevented them from driving on the roads.

Taxi commuters were also left stranded with no transport.

Although the strike has been called off, MEC for Community Safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane took to social media to condemn the manner in which Santaco members conducted themselves.

Nkosi-Malobane says the strike has a negative impact on the economy since Gauteng is the economic hub of the country.

“I’m actually very disappointed with the actions of Santaco after they applied for a legal march and they have now inconvenienced our people.

“But also they have affected those that are poor, particularly domestic workers, some of them are going to lose their jobs because of their action.”

WATCH: Taxi drivers gridlock Joburg roads

Gauteng taxi operators blocked highways on Thursday morning, leaving thousands of commuters stranded.

Some drivers used their taxis to barricade highways and roads across the province.

Santaco held a media briefing at Emperor's Palace in Kempton Park on Thursday afternoon.

Santaco's business arm Taxi Choice's Thulani Qwaba said that not all their demands were met and says the taxi industry has had enough.

He says the association is also in talks with 32 other companies, including government, to find ways to address their challenges.

Qwaba said if they do not react quick enough, there will be a national strike.

“If they still want to diddle-daddle and mess about then, unfortunately, the taxi industry will go on to what will be much bigger than what you saw today.”

He said that the protest action has been suspended for now.

Meanwhile, Santaco said that the failure by government to subsidise their business is killing the industry.

The association says it does not understand why they are not subsidised as they are the biggest form of public transport in the country.

Thousands of motorists were stranded around Gauteng early on Thursday morning when key routes were blocked.

The taxis later moved to Emperor's Palace in Kempton Park, where Santaco President Phillip Taaibosch shared with them the outcome of talks with several stakeholders, including SA Taxi Finance Holdings.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)