Taxi protest shuts down Eastern Cape roads
The taxi industry’s planned strike has started with the shutting down of several of the province's roads on Wednesday morning‚ according to the transport department.
The spokesperson for the provincial department of transport‚ Unathi Binqose‚ told DispatchLIVE that the taxi drivers started closing the roads as early as 4am.
Roads that have been confirmed closed due to protests include the R346 in Stutterheim towards King William's Town‚ N6 road between Stutterheim towards East London and other local access roads in Stutterheim.
Uitenhage's Rocklands Road and Uitenhage's Melbrooks road to Nobuhle township were also closed.
Roads were blockaded with burning tyres in Phakamisa near King William's Town and the N6 near Stutterheim.
"These are the roads already confirmed closed. Our officers are on the ground monitoring the situation‚" said Binqose.
Businesses‚ schools‚ universities and even municipalities announced they would either shut or curb their activities on Wednesday for fear of disruption and violence. Some school examinations have been postponed.
Buffalo City Metro has over 40 traffic and law enforcement officers deployed across the city.
The metro said in a statement the situation was "quiet and calm" just after 6am. "So far‚ there was an attempt to block off the N2 on the Blaney junction near Ndevana‚ however‚ officers managed the situation."
According to HeraldLIVE‚ the one-day taxi strike is around a range of issues including an alleged failure by the transport department to tag schoolchildren who use scholar transport for identification purposes‚ a struggle to obtain operating permits‚ claims of harassment at the hands of traffic officers‚ fuel price increases with operators unable to increase taxi fares and their opposition to commuters hitchhiking.