Chaos erupts during taxi strike

Thousands of minibus taxi commuters were stranded around Pretoria on Thursday morning as taxi operators embarked on a strike.
Other road-users were also affected because the striking members of the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) blockaded several major roads around the city.
Tshwane metro police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba said blocked highways included Mabopane Highway, R21, N1 and the N4.
“They [protesters] are expected to march to Nissan in Rosslyn and the Reserve Bank in Pretoria Central to hand over memorandums. The protest is causing traffic delays on several of our city’s roads,” he said.

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“As the metro police we did not approve any march, should the march proceed it will be regarded as an illegal activity.”
He said the metro police and other law enforcement agencies had deployed members in the affected areas.
Santaco called the strike after it complained that its members were paying too much for the Toyota Quantums they use to ferry passengers.
The council said some of its members had been hit hard by high interest rates, and that their credit worthiness had been adversely affected because of their inability to meet their repayment obligations.
“We can’t take it anymore,” said Santaco’s Ralph Jones.
Mahamba said the metro police and SAPS were keeping an eye on the situation.
The strike was expected to end at 10:00.

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Members of the public are encouraged to report any illegal activity on 012-358-7095/6 or 012-358-1906/05.
Meanwhile, the metro said it was forced to suspend its bus service on Thursday because of the taxi protest.
The Tshwane Bus Services said in a statement that it had suspended operations after six of its buses were stoned outside its depot in WF Nkomo Street.
“Some of the city employees reside in areas affected by the protest action and are thus unable to report for duty. The protest action is likely to have an impact on service delivery today,” the metro said in a statement.
“As a caring employer, the city has the responsibility to safeguard the lives of its employees as well as its assets. We will monitor the situation and once it returns to normality, some of the services will resume.”

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The metro said while it acknowledged the right to protest was constitutionally guaranteed, the protesters had no right to blockade the roads and intimidate other road-users.
The metro apologised to its bus commuters for the inconvenience caused.

The taxi strike has caused traffic congestion on several major routes in Pretoria. Photo: Ron Sibiya

Taxi operators and metro police clashed as the taxi operators tried to prevent motorists from giving people lifts. Photo: Ron Sibiya.

Taxi operators and metro police clashed as the taxi operators tried to prevent motorists from giving people lifts. Photo: Ron Sibiya.

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David Matsena

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