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Tshwane police out in force to deal with taxi strike

The taxi industry is unhappy about the bus rapid transport system's operating licences, and public transport subsidies among other issues.

Tshwane police assemble at the old Putco depot in Marabastad on 8 November 2017 as they prepare to deal with a taxi strike. Picture: @SAPoliceService/Twitter

PRETORIA - Police are already out in their numbers in Marabastad where striking taxi drivers are set to arrive for a massive protest on Wednesday morning.

The taxi industry is unhappy about the bus rapid transport system's operating licences, and public transport subsidies among other issues.

Several roads in Soshanguve and Mamelodi have been barricaded, with authorities called in to try clear the area.

Drivers affiliated to the National Taxi Alliance are expected to start gathering here at the old Putco depot in Marabasatd from 9am.

Police are however already on high alert, seemingly mapping out a plan of action for today’s demonstration.

The taxi drivers are expected to march to the transport department where they will hand over a memorandum to Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi before heading to the Union Buildings, where a document will be submitted for the attention of President Jacob Zuma.

The Gauteng Education Department says that pupils writing year-end exams will be accommodated as parts of the province remain affected by a taxi strike.

The Education Department’s Steve Mabona says: "We said that the chief invigilators must assist the learners who arrive late, make sure that they give them an opportunity to write and those that will not arrive at the centres where they are registered, they can then go to alternative centres and they will also be assisted there to write."

Meanwhile, long queues can be seen forming at bus stops as commuters try make their way to work.

At the same time, Tshwane Metro Police are investigating reports of violence and intimidation.

There are reports of taxi drivers allegedly stoning passing vehicles on Moloto Road.

One motorist saw what happened.

“Taxi drivers were throwing stones and empty bottles to the police and there was some shooting there but it was not clear if there was any person injured but presently they managed to open the road.”

At the same time, it is understood that the demonstration has also spread to Johannesburg, with Soweto and Germiston affected.

Johannesburg Metro Police Department’s Wayne Minaar says: “There has been reports of traffic moving slow on N1 north going past Soweto in the direction of Pretoria, so it is affecting the Joburg area already. Motorists can take alternative routes.”

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