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CT taxi commuters left frustrated as strike hits

The Bellville taxi rank is usually manic on a Monday morning, but it stands virtually empty, except for commuters who are optimistic of finding a taxi driver not taking part in the strike.

Abandoned taxis seen at the Bellville taxi rank on 6 August 2018, as a strike got underway in Cape Town. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

CAPE TOWN – It’s been a morning of turmoil for taxi commuters.

Many taxi drivers in the city are taking part in a strike. The Bellville taxi rank is usually manic on a Monday morning, but it stands virtually empty, except for commuters who are optimistic of finding a taxi driver not taking part in the strike.

About 50 people wait in line to catch a bus. Many commuters are seething.

“I had to walk to Bellville. When I got here I realised there’s no taxi. I must take a Stellenbosch taxi,” a commuter told Eyewitness News.

Another adds: “It’s my bread and butter, I need to get to work but here are no taxis.”

It’s not clear when all taxi drivers will get back onto the roads.

Meanwhile, a group calling itself Minibus Taxi Industry Task Team has accused the Western Cape Transport Department of meddling in matters related to the sector.

As a result, taxi drivers affiliated to the group have decided to down their keys in Cape Town, affecting tens of thousands of people.

The organisation's Besuthu Ndungane says: “The MEC must make a decision. On one occasion he wants to be impartial and says he doesn’t want to interfere but the best you expect from the department is intervention. But their intervention is coming out like interference.”

The Minibus Taxi Industry Task Team says it has decided to withdraw its services until a date is set for a pre-elective conference.

The spokesperson for the task team and Codeta, Besuthu Ndungane, explains: “The reason why we are intending to withdraw our service is because the national office of Santaco is refusing to support a request for the minibus operators to be allowed a pre-election conference that should precede the regional and provincial election.”

Additional reporting by Shamiela Fisher.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)