Gauteng taxi strike strands thousands of commuters

Taxi operations have been bought to a standstill, with drivers on strike demanding that government deliver on its COVID-19 relief promises.

Taxi drivers blocked roads in Marabastad on 18 November 2020 as part of a mass shutdown in Gauteng. The taxi industry wants government to fast-track the payout of more than R1 billion in relief funds announced by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Commuters in Gauteng are once again caught in the middle of a dispute between taxi associations and government, with thousands having no means to travel around the province.

Taxi operations have been bought to a standstill, with drivers on strike demanding that government deliver on its COVID-19 relief promises.

The taxi industry wants government to fast-track the payout of more than R1 billion in relief funds announced by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.

As part of a mass shut down in Gauteng, thousands of taxis pulled up their handbrakes on Wednesday morning, leaving commuters stranded across the province.

Taxi ranks which are usually bustling now stand virtually empty, except for commuters who are optimistic of finding a taxi driver who is not taking part in today’s strike.

Scores of commuters were left stranded along the N1 North between Johannesburg and Pretoria earlier after a taxi driver abandoned them on the freeway as operators blocked main roads.

Some were seen hitch-hiking in an attempt to get to their destinations.

"We were already in the taxi, we were already on our way to Pretoria, then the driver said that there was a strike. He stopped here and told us all to get off and he told us we had to walk to Pretoria," one commuter said.

"It's very bad. We got into a taxi in Joburg. I'm going to Beitbridge and along the way, the driver said because there's a strike, you must get out and walk to Pretoria."

Taxi associations will march from the old Putco depot in Marabastad.

The Transport Department is their first stop before they head to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to hand over their memorandum to the Presidency.

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