As the protest intensify, a motorcyclist was nearly beaten with knobkieries when he tried to pass the blockage that taxi operators had caused with their vehicles as part of their protest on Wednesday morning on the N1.

With traffic heavily backed up, the man tried to worm his out of the gridlock by passing vehicles blocking the road. However, he nearly felt the wrath of the protesters.

Wayne Minnaar spokesperson of the Johannesburg Metro Police said officers had to come to the man’s defence and save him from the angry taxi operators.

The taxi operators embarked on the protest over their unhappiness with the Covid-19 relief funds promised by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.

The aim of the protest was to hand over a memorandum of grievances to President Cyril Ramaphosa at Union Buildings.

According to Minnaar, the protest caused a major obstruction on the N1. He said “They used 40 cars and one minibus taxi to go slow. They are at the front of the traffic”.

Some people on social media asked why the metro police did not stop the operators from obstructing traffic. However, Minnaar said they could not do that.

He said “People are allowed to protests, we can’t do anything about it. We can’t stop them”.

In other news, The Citizen reports the Tshwane Bus Service announced one of its buses had been hijacked in the Orchards area, north of the city, allegedly by taxi drivers. On other routes, passengers were kicked and forced out of the buses.

“At our meeting with the taxi industry yesterday they indicated that the protest would start at 10am and that it would be peaceful, hence we allowed our buses to operate early this morning and we were going to withdraw them just before the protest got under way. Our drivers have been warned to not operate in the Orchards area.”