TAXI STRIKE LEAVES COMMUTERS STRANDED
By: Pamela Sibiya and Khumbuzile Mbuqe
The intersection between Warwick Avenue and Anton Lembede Street in Durban came to a standstill in the early hours of the morning when taxis and buses were not allowed entry by various taxi associations.
A mob of people, including taxi owners, prevented all taxis passing by the intersection and some buses.
This comes after it was announced last night that there’ll be a taxi strike for three days due to the unfair issuing of permits by the Durban Metro police.
Taxi owner, Lihle Kunene of Molweni-Wyebank Taxi Association said that main issues that led to the strike were traffic fines and permits.
“There was an agreement between Durban Metro Law Enforcement and South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) that they won’t be issuing traffic fines for permits and won’t be impounding taxis for not having operating licences,” he said.
In a statement issued by the eThekwini Municipality, City Manager Sibusiso Sithole said “the Municipality has not received any memorandum of grievances from members of the Taxi Industry.
However, reports indicate that the cause of the strike action relates to a recent law enforcement operation by Metro Police and the Provincial Department of Transport”.
The prohibition of taxis operating spread throughout the city and people started running for their lives when violence erupted. Taxi owners started attacking taxis and buses operating in town and other surrounding areas.
A student and passenger, S’nenhlanhla Mnqayi said that she took a bus to school because of the strike and was still shocked after a violent act affected her.
“A brick came out of nowhere, broke the bus window and after that, we asked the driver to stop and we immediately ran out,” she said.
EThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo said in a statement that he condemned the attacking of Municipal buses ferrying passengers to school and work in the wake of the strike action by members of the Taxi Industry.
“We are receiving reports that while the strike action is currently taking place our Municipal buses are being attacked with passengers inside.
We are highly concerned about the recent turn of events and urge people to raise their concerns through following the appropriate channels without resorting to violence,” said Nxumalo.
Passengers are still in limbo as some said that they were not aware of the strike and had not made any arrangements for transport back home this afternoon.