Transport MEC warns taxi industry against strike

2010-02-18 14:35

GAUTENG Transport MEC Bheki Nkosi has warned taxi operators that

the provincial government was prepared for the week-long protests the industry

has threatened.

The MEC said that although he upheld the right to protest as this

is enshrined in the Constitution, his department believed that nothing would be

achieved by the protest.

The United Taxi Allied Forum (Utaf) announced that it would go on

strike against the implementation of the last phase of the Bus Rapid Transit

(BRT) system.

The latest round of strike threats follows the City of

Johannesburg’s decision to introduce a feeder scheme of government taxis (where

BRT buses do not reach) into townships in direct competition to the taxi

industry.

Utaf is planning a week-long strike expected to start from next

week on Friday.

“We acknowledge that commuters also have the right to make a choice

in terms of the mode of transport they want. They should be allowed to do so

without any coercive tactic, be it emotional blackmail or intimidation,” Nkosi

said.

He said the government was more than ready now to meet those who

threatened violence at their level and acknowledged the taxi industry as an

important BRT stakeholder.

Utaf will meet with the City of Johannesburg tomorrow, where its

spokesperson Ralph Jones hopes BRT expansion will be discussed and a final

decision on the strike will be made.

“We want them to start opening up and look at how we’re going to

benefit,” Jones said, adding that the taxi industry was already losing money and

was not worried about financial difficulties should the strike go ahead.

“Our income is affected and taxis are being repossessed.”


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