Following the march embarked on by the National Taxi Alliance (NTA) over outstanding Covid-19 relief fund payments, Wednesday has been a nightmare for Tshwane passengers as taxi services come to a standstill.
The aim of the march is to hand over a memorandum of grievances to Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and President Cyril Ramaphosa, in light of the taxi association not having received any of the more than R1 billion in Covid-19 relief funds which where promised by Mbalula during lockdown in June.
At the time, Mbalula said government had noted that the taxi industry had operated at less than 60% of its size, which led to massive losses in income.
On Wednesday morning, the Tshwane Bus Service announced that one of its busses 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 underway. Our drivers have been warned to not operate in the Orchards area.
The Tshwane Bus Service said “We have also received reports of some blockages in various parts of the city, including along Solomon Mahlangu Road, in the east of the City. With this we have to recall all our buses to the depot”.
SAPS and Tshwane Metro Police Department have been notified of this incident.
Physically kicking us off Tshwane bus, when buses are on strike taxis operate as normal no one disrupts them kodwa bona manje @Tshwanebus2 @MbalulaFikile #Nationaltaxistrike can we please be protected, or should we accept that taxis govern themselves pic.twitter.com/QSw3TTXF3r
— Wandile Masango (@WandileMasango2) November 18, 2020
The Bara City Taxi Owners Association has sent out a message to commuters that none of its taxis will be running on Wednesday due to the march, and they should make other transport arrangements.
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says learners writing exams today will be given a maximum of an hour to arrive late. They’re also allowed to write their exam at any school closer to them.
According to the Joburg Metro Police Department (JMPD), taxi operators have blocked off the N1 North at the N17.
Traffic is heavily backed up from Soweto Highway.
The JMPD said “Motorists are advised to avoid and to use Soweto Highway as an alternative route”.