Striking taxi drivers block Pretoria major roads

Striking taxi drivers block Pretoria major roads

November 8 2017 – THE strike by taxi drivers, today, has been so marred by intimidation of motorists and blocking of major roads by the protesting taxi drivers,as their leadership accused
Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi of “playing games” with the lives of millions of South Africans who are impacted directly by the taxi industry in the country.

National Taxi Alliance (NTA) President Francis Matsitsa told more than a thousand taxi drivers and operators gathered at the department of transport in Pretoria central that Maswanganyi’s days are numbered – just like several individuals who preceded him.

“You need to stop playing games with the taxi industry. We are the taxi industry, and we are not going anywhere. You can hope and wish the taxi industry will disappear, but it will never disappear. We have seen several ministers serve in your position,” said Matsitsa.

Malele said their protest was meant to be “peaceful”.

After the stopover at the department of transport department, the large crowd set off for the Union Buildings, east of Pretoria.

Malele said their protest was meant to be “peaceful”.

“The mandate that we got was very clear. It was that of us embarking on a peaceful protest march to Pretoria. We are expecting members from throughout the country to come through all the roads which lead into Tshwane. The question of those intimidating others is just not on,” said Malele.

“As we rightfully know, the roads are a shared space and we don’t have the right to blockade these roads. Neither do we have a right to stop people from going to their economic activities -in as much as we have been granted the right to march.

“We must respect the right of other people to co-exist. It is not the NTA’s intention to have the roads blocked but in that instance we would like to call on law enforcement agencies to take on the matter and bring these guys to book.”

Thousands of commuters across Pretoria were stranded across Pretoria, with some fearing that they would lose their jobs if they did not make it to work on Wednesday.

Basic education authorities have made arrangements for South African learners, currently writing their National Senior Certificate examinations to arrive late, or to use different centres where they can find the transport.

“You will one day regret having ignored the NTA. All of them [previous ministers]have been fired in their numbers, and you will face the same thing. We can assure you that you will not see us in the same way again. Rest assured, many more ministers are coming after you.”

Malele said the association resolved to march to the Union Buildings as well because “it is the Presidency that is responsible for placing these ministers in office”.

“We would want the issue of our grievances to be central to the political agenda going forward. The discourse of today is precipitated by the unworkable taxi recapitalization, the non-subsidization of the taxi industry, the non-issuance of operating licences to deserving taxi operators – to name but a few,” said Malele. – ANA