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Joburg authorities brace for march by metered taxi drivers

The drivers are set to march to the Gautrain offices after a lengthy turf war with Uber operators around Gautrain stations.

FILE: Metered taxi drivers meet at the OR Tambo airport to discuss their way forward from after they blocked main roads to the airport in protest of Uber. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Johannesburg law enforcement officers are bracing for a busy day ahead of a planned march by metered taxi drivers.

The drivers are set to march to the Gautrain offices after a lengthy turf war with Uber operators around Gautrain stations.

Johannesburg Metro Police say the group was denied a permit for the demonstration on Wednesday as their application didn’t meet the seven-day notice period of intention to march.

Metered taxi drivers allegedly attacked an Uber operator in Pretoria on Wednesday in scenes similar to those witnessed in Sandton and the Johannesburg CBD in recent months.

While the meter taxi drivers have been denied permission to strike today, the police and Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) says they anticipate that the strike will still go ahead.

The JMPD’s Edna Mamonyane says: “From other sources we’ve heard that the drivers will probably be near the R21 and R24 because they wanted to block the roads.”

A message doing the rounds about the strike says it will also affect the N3 Gillooley’s Interchange at the East Gate Shopping Centre and possibly the airport too.

Mamonyane says officers are ready to police the situation, particularly in the targeted areas.

Meanwhile, management at OR Tambo International Airport has pleaded with passengers to allow delays and longer travelling time to the airport.

It’s understood the protesters might gather in the airport's vicinity.

The airport’s Leigh Gunkel-Keuler says: “Given the potential of this taxi-operator strike and as part of our airport operations contingency planning, we do remain in close contact with the metro authorities and the South African Police Service in order to keep the routes into and out of the airport open.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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