Cape commuters stranded amid taxi strike, Tshwane strike postponed
A strike across the Western Cape has left thousands of people stranded, while the strike planned for Tshwane appears to have been postponed.
CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - From Retreat and Khayelitsha to Mowbray and Delft, it appears no taxis are operating this morning.
A province-wide taxi strike has left thousands of people stranded.
Western Cape Transport MEC Donald Grant is expected to meet with taxi bosses today.
Two prominent taxi associations are demanding issues around the impounding of vehicles be addressed, among other grievances.
The minibus taxi industry's Besuthu Ndungane says the industry wants to iron out grievances with regard to vehicles being impounded.
Among their grievances is a disagreement over the election of new taxi leadership in the Western Cape.
The Provincial Transport MEC's spokesperson, Siphesihle Dube, says the department is keen to meet with members of the taxi industry in a bid to find a solution to their problems.
“Our officials are aware and so are law enforcement authorities to make sure everything goes smoothly.”
As if the industrial action is not bad enough, it appears some striking taxi drivers want to aggravate the situation even further.
The N1 inbound has been closed at Joostenbergvlakte.
A road in Fisantekraal has also been shut.
Main Road in the Wynberg area has also been affected, as has the main road in Delft. Potsdam road is also closed due to protests.
Traffic on the N7 passing Du Noon is moving much slower than normal.
Black smoke hangs in the air from burning tyres.
At the same time, Golden Arrow says its services are running as normally they can.
The bus company's Brownyn Dyke-Beyer says: “We’ve had officials on the ground and we are operating at capacity. Unfortunately, due to stoning incidents, we had to divert the buses in some areas.”
A Golden Arrow bus in Delft South was torched this morning.
SECURITY BEEFED UP
The police's Novela Potelwa says various units within the South African Police Service are bracing for the taxi strike in the Cape.
Officers will be deployed to specific locations and taxi hubs to ensure the safety of commuters and motorists.
“Our deployments will be at identified locations and transport hubs in the metropole. They will be looking into traffic disruptions and urge those participating in this strike to adhere by the rule of law.”
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Meanwhile, the Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) is on high alert after threats of a possible strike by taxi drivers.
The strike had been planned by the Detwusa union, however, it appears to have been postponed due to outstanding compliance requirements.
Drivers are angry over traffic fines and want them to be scrapped.
The TMPD’s Isaac Mahamba says unlawful activity will not be tolerated.
“At this stage, we want to listen to their grievances but cannot allow them to take the law into their own hands. We cannot just scrap fines for people who obtained them through reckless driving.”
News of the strike, which was due to take place for four days from today, was circulated through posters at taxi ranks.
However, the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) and Tshwane taxi industry bosses had condemned the planned demonstration, threatening to impound any taxis found to be intercepting traffic.
Santaco's Thabisho Molelekwa says they're pleased the strike is off.
“Drivers who have passengers in their vehicles have ferried them to their various destinations. This process was done under strict monitoring to ensure taxis were not derailed.”
(Edited by Shimoney Regter)