UPDATE: North bus-taxi strike organisers vow to intensify disruptions

Concerned commuters and taxi associations caused havoc in the CBD as t5hey marched to the Tshwane House in the CBD recently.

Concerned commuters and taxi organisations who caused public transport disruptions in Hammanskraal last week have vowed to do “worse” if their issues were not addressed.

The group’s convenor Thabo Tshesane said on Monday that the concerned parties would be meeting at 18:00 at Jubilee Mall in Hammanskraal to map a way forward.

“When we marched to the Tshwane House last week on Monday, we gave them seven days to respond to our concerns. We don’t believe they are taking us seriously. We have to send a message,” said Tshesane.

He said all they wanted was for the metro to review an agreement signed by local taxi associations and the city preventing taxis from running into Pretoria CBD.

ALSO READ: ‘Political interference’ behind bus disruptions says Pta metro

“We are still waiting for the metro’s response to our concerns. If they don’t cancel the agreement…we will continue with the strike. We will shut down Hammanskraal and we will shut down the city,” he said.

Tshesane said three taxi associations – Hato, Seta and Ghsta – signed an agreement with the metro without considering their views of the commuters.

Tshwane metro MMC for roads and transport Sheila Lynn Senkubuge said rogue taxi organisations were continuing to negotiate in bad faith at the expense of commuters in Hammanskraal.

Senkubuge said the metro’s leadership held marathon consultations with concerned commuters and taxi organisations in Hammanskraal following disruptions to public transport on Thursday.

“After the city negotiated in good faith, it appeared that there were no taxis to transport commuters into town on Friday, which demonstrates that these rogue taxi organisations, influenced by political elements, have no interest in providing services to the people of Tshwane,” she said.

Senkubuge said the parties raised the following issues as major concerns affecting them:

• Inefficiencies surrounding the current bus service contract with North West Star;

• Request for the extension of the A Re Yeng bus rapid transit system to Hammanskraal;

• Challenges regarding the agreement between the Tshwane metro and Taxi organisations along the Hammanskraal-Rainbow Junction-Tshwane CBD route; and

• Request for a passenger railway service between the CBD and Hammanskraal.

“Following robust engagements that lasted all day, the parties agreed to allow the leadership of Tshwane time to look into the issues raised,” she said.

She said the city had agreed to respond to the memorandum within a week.

“While some of the issues could be addressed within a reasonable space of time, there are matters bound in legal agreements entered into by the city and the taxi industry which cannot just be changed overnight,” she said.

She said these included the legal agreement that taxis coming from Hammanskraal should drop off commuters at Rainbow Junction from where A Re Yeng buses would ferry them to their final destinations in various parts of the CBD.

ALSO READ: DA visits Hammanskraal ahead of Sona

Taxi operators were compensated R300 000 per vehicle for the Rainbow Junction to CBD route. The payout involved at least 375 vehicles/taxis.

“The city of Tshwane calls on the residents of Hammanskraal to exercise restraint and discipline while the issues they raised are being resolved. We condemn in the strongest possible terms any conduct that would lead to violence and destruction of property,” she said.

On Monday the situation was calm and taxis and buses were operating and transport people to their respective destinations.

Do you have more information about the story? Please send us an email to [email protected] or phone us on 083 625 4114.

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David Matsena

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