Traffic backlogged as taxi operators strike over Covid-19 relief funding
Parts of the N1 highway were blocked off on Wednesday as taxi operators in and around Gauteng gear up for a planned protest march over Covid-19 relief funding that was promised to them.
Drivers have blockaded some roads and are on a go-slow drive towards Pretoria.
The National Taxi Alliance (NTA) operators plan to deliver a list of grievances to transport minister Fikile Mbalula and President Cyril Ramaphosa.
In a statement, the organisation said among their concerns was the Covid-19 relief fund which had been promised for the benefit of deserving taxi drivers and operators.
“The NTA will as a result embark on a peaceful protest march to deliver its grievances, contained in two memorandums, to the minister of transport and the president respectively.”
#TaxiStrike. Taxi operators have blocked off the N1 North at the N17, ahead of their planned protest march in Pretoria. Traffic is heavily backed up from Soweto Highway. Motorists are advised to avoid & to use Soweto Highway as an alternative route. #JHBTraffic pic.twitter.com/tIux6LtciY— Jo'burg Metro Police Department - JMPD (@JoburgMPD) November 18, 2020
Protesting taxi drivers and operators are expected to gather at the old Putco depot in Marabastad in Pretoria at 9am.
They will then proceed to the department of transport before heading to the Union Buildings to deliver their second memorandum to the office of the president.
The Gauteng education department expressed concern about the possible impact of the taxi strike on pupils writing matric exams.
“It is unfortunate that we will experience such an inconvenience during this critical time of examinations
“Parents are encouraged to assist and make alternative transport arrangements, especially for matric candidates. All our chief invigilators are empowered to manage such situations, including facilitation of necessary concessions. Candidates must ensure they reach their exam centres. We will monitor the situation closely,” it said in a statement.
Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said pupils would be allowed to arrive a maximum of one hour late if affected by the taxi strike. They can also write at their nearest school.
Dear Matriculants— Panyaza Lesufi (@Lesufi) November 18, 2020
Kindly take note of this arrangement if you’re affected by the #TaxiStrike. All learners will be given a maximum of an hour to arrive late. You can also write your exam at any school closer to you. @educationgp @Steve_Mabona pic.twitter.com/0XIxy7xbSh