South African commuters hit by minibus taxi strike

Minibus taxi strikers block roads and reportedly pressure or even force commuters off buses

South African commuters hit by minibus taxi strike

World Bulletin / News Desk

Masses of commuters in South Africa’s capital Pretoria and the major economic hub Johannesburg were left stranded Wednesday as minibus taxi operators went on a strike likely to last 24 hours.

Minibus taxis are the main mode of transport in South Africa, transporting millions of people to work and school daily.

But some commuters, trying to find alternative means of transport, were reportedly confronted by striking taxi drivers who intimidated them into leaving buses and private vehicles, or in some cases physically removed them.

Theo Malele, spokesman of the National Taxi Alliance, which is leading the strike, told Anadolu Agency that anyone who pulled commuters off buses ‘‘committed an illegal act and law enforcement officers must hold them accountable.’’

Malele said they are protesting the difficulty of some of their operators getting transport licenses, as well as the high price of buying minibus taxis.

Some of those affected by the strike include students going to take their final secondary school exams.

“I was lucky to have hitched a lift from a private vehicle,’’ Mazibiko Martin from Pretoria told Anadolu Agency.

Col. Lungelo Dlamini, spokesman for the Gauteng Police, told Anadolu Agency that two striking taxi drivers had been arrested for assaulting a police officer.

“We haven’t seen any other incidents of violence,” he said.

“Police officers have started clearing roads that had earlier been blockaded by the striking drivers.”

The strike is expected to end later today after operators issue a list of their demands to the Transportation Ministry.

Taxi strikes in South Africa have previously been extremely violent, with strikers torching buses and stoning private vehicles giving lifts to stranded commuters.

Last Mod: 08 Kasım 2017, 13:14
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