NTA & associates: We are waging war on the Transport Minister

Taxi operators and marshals from various branches across Gauteng heeded the call for a total shutdown of their industry.

Taxi operators brought Pretoria to a standstill on 18 November 2020 as they embarked on a protest through the city. The operators marched first to the Department of Transport before making their way to the Union Buildings where they handed over a memorandum of demands to Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Thembi Siweya. Drivers and owners are demanding that Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula pay them the COVID-19 relief funds promised to them. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey Makhaza/EWN

PRETORIA - The National Taxi Association (NTA) and its associates on Wednesday said they were waging a war against Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula over the outstanding payment of COVID-19 relief funds.

Taxi operators and marshals from various branches across Gauteng heeded the call for a total shutdown of their industry.

They were set to hand over a memorandum at the Union Buildings, demanding that government explain why funds hadn’t yet been paid out to their sector.

While the NTA said its demonstration would not affect peak hour traffic or matric exams, thousands of vehicles were backed up from as early as 7am on Wednesday, disrupting the morning commute.

Hundreds of taxi operators were gathered in the capital to voice their grievances.

Addressing his affiliates, the NTA’s Thami Buthelezi said, “Mbalula, here we are as the NTA. You said we (didn’t) exist, but we are here to prove a point that we do exist, and we demand our money that we were promised months ago. We also want to be recognised as the NTA – that we are alive and we are a structure on its own. We don’t have to be forced to belong to other structures.”

Buthelezi said Mbalula had yet to respond to the association's lawyers, warning that the one-day strike could continue if he failed to meet their demands.

“This is a national strike – so we have around 120,000 taxis that belong to the NTA. We only want to strike today, but that will depend on whether Mbalula comes back to us.”

Buthelezi maintained that this was a peaceful strike despite reports of intimidation, with commuters pushed out of buses in the capital and bystanders heckled for filming disruptions.

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