Chaos on the roads as taxi blockade chokes Johannesburg
Anger and frustration boiled over as commuters were caught up in a massive taxi strike that brought parts of Johannesburg - the economic hub of the country - to a halt on Thursday.
Taxi drivers blocked key transport routes‚ causing widespread disruption across the city.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi urged parents to keep their children home for their own safety. School pupils are writing examinations.
“For the sake of the safety of the children the Department believes that all precautionary measures should be taken to keep our children safe‚” the department said in a statement.
The department urged schools to give learners that could not make it to class a second opportunity to write exams.
“The department has communicated to all school principals to give children that could not make it to school today another opportunity to write at a later stage.”
The blockade prevented bus drivers getting to work‚ affecting commuters using the Gautrain.
“Unfortunately‚ due to major roads being blocked‚ employees are unable to get to the various stations this morning. As a result‚ there is no bus service & a train every 20 minutes on both the N-S & E-W lines. We will keep you updated as the situation evolves throughout the day‚” said an early morning Gautrain alert.
The South African Taxi Council (Santaco) has embarked on a strike in a protest against the monthly cost of their Toyota Quantum vehicles.
Santaco Gauteng chairperson Ralph Jones said yesterday that the taxi industry would march to the South African Taxi Finance offices in Midrand.
“This is to hand over a memorandum of grievances to the directors of the company. Some members of the taxi industry have been hard hit by the high interest rate of 28% and blacklisting due to payment of R15‚000 per month over 72 months.
Anger and frustration boiled over on Thursday morning when Johannesburg commuters were caught up in a massive Santaco taxi strike. Subscribe to TimesLIVE here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TimesLive
“We can't take it anymore‚” Jones said.
He advised commuters to seek alternative transport.
Large parts of the city and major transport routes were affected‚ including the N1 highway at the Allandale off-ramp in Midrand‚ the N12 and Soshanguve Highway.
One commuter warned people‚ in a call to radio 702‚ that gunshots had been fired as taxis congregated near the Allandale Road off-ramp.
Ivory Park residents said they were stranded and unable to get to work.
“At 3am on Thursday‚ the N1 north and south was blocked by taxis. The traffic is heavy on N1‚ N12 and N3 on the south of Johannesburg coming from the Vaal area. Also‚ traffic from Pretoria to Johannesburg is affected as hundreds of taxis are joining in and driving slowly‚” Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Wayne Minnaar told TimesLIVE.
“At the moment the police can’t confirm any violence or harm to both the drivers and motorists.”
#TaxiStrike was trending on twitter as commuters vented about the chaos caused by the blockade.
This is a developing story.