Taxi drivers block roads on one-day strike

Everson Luhanga

Gauteng taxi drivers blocked roads on Monday as they went on strike for the day to demand a bigger bailout from government.

They are now due back on the road on Tuesday.

The taxi operators, who are demanding a bigger Covid-19 bailout, say they are not giving up their fight against government. They are still threatening a nationwide shutdown if their demands are not met.

Soldiers and the police were seen in some parts of Pretoria forcing taxi operators to move after they blocked the road with taxis. Some videos circulated on social media showing police firing shots, but these could not be verified.

Emmanuel Maleka, national spokesperson of the Top Six Taxi Industry told Scrolla.Africa that their taxis will be back on the road on Tuesday. But Maleka warned that if there’s no agreement with government, “we will embark on a national shutdown for a week and bring the country to its knees”.

Maleka said the association got calls from drivers across the country who wanted to join a nationwide shutdown.  

“We had to start somewhere. And that somewhere is in Gauteng. We will go national if we are not taken seriously by the government,” he said.

Alexandra Taxi Association Chairperson Vusi Mayaba confirmed taxis are back on the road on Tuesday. He reminded commuters an annual fare increase will take effect on 1 July – but did not say how much.

The association is due to meet Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula this week.

Mbalula is offering R5,000 a taxi to compensate for their lost business, which the taxi associations say is not enough.