Durban taxi operators set to strike

2010-04-19 00:00

ATTEMPTS over the weekend by Transport MEC Willies Mchunu and eThekwini Mayor Obed Mlaba to avert a massive two-day strike by taxi operators in the Durban region have failed, and the strike is expec­ted to start today.

A group of taxi operators, calling themselves “Concerned Taxi Operators” (CTO), decided to embark on a two-day strike in protest against the impounding of their vehicles and the exorbitant fines issued to them by eThekwini Metro Police for allegedly operating without permits.

According to weekend newspapers, the CTO threatened that no taxis, buses and metered taxis will be allowed to operate during the next two days of the strike.

CTO spokesman Eugene Radebe reportedly said that the impounding of their vehicles, and the issuing of exorbitant fines on taxis transgressing road regulations, was an attempt by Metro Police to close down the taxi industry.

Radebe said the striking taxi operators will hold their protest meeting today and tomorrow at Albert Park, Durban.

Mchunu and Mlaba convened a meeting on Saturday with the leadership of the taxi industry to discuss challenges affecting taxi operations in and around Durban.

In a statement issued yesterday, Mchunu’s spokesperson Bheki Mncube said prior to that meeting, the MEC had met with the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) and both parties agreed on a way forward in dealing with matters relating to taxi operations.

“We have addressed all the issues raised by Santaco. In fact, on Monday [today], we will meet with the Metro Police and management of eThekwini to iron out outstanding law enforcement matters.

“Of significance are 1 651 rank stands, including the process of expediting administrative backlogs to ensure the smooth running of taxi operations in and around eThekwini Metro,” Mchunu said.

Mncube said Mchunu had also met the leadership of the CTO to establish the reasons for striking and to come up with an amicable solution.

“It emerged in this meeting that these operators are aggrieved by the alleged bad treatment received from the Metro Police.”

Mchunu pleaded with the group to suspend the strike, as he sees no reason for it to continue since the matters raised are to be addressed during the meeting to be held with Santaco-KZN and the Metro Police today.

 

TWO major taxi organisations in KwaZulu-Natal, the National Taxi Alliance (NTA)-KZN and Santaco-KZN, distanced themselves from the strike.

“We, as Santaco, never called the strike and we don’t support it. Indeed, there is frequent harassment of operators by Metro Police, but we have met the MEC [Willies Mchunu] and he has pro­mised to resolve our concerns,” said Santaco-KZN deputy chairman Bheki Mbambo.

NTA-KZN chairman Brian Dlamini said it will not parti­cipate in the strike “as we don’t know the people behind its organisation”.

However, he said it will participate in Wednesday’s national strike, as “we believe our problems should be solved at a national level”.

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