Strike: Taxis in KZN set to join Cosatu strike action today

2008-08-05 00:00

BUSINESSES will be hit hard by the national strike today as the taxi industry pledges its support for the Cosatu-led mass action. Taxi operations will grind to a halt today, forcing workers to stay away as there will be no transport to work.

The two taxi organisations in KwaZulu-Natal are backing Cosatu and have said no taxis will be available, except to take people to the marches.

“We will take part in the strike; no one is going to work,” KZN Transport Alliance spokesman Eugene Radebe said.

SA National Taxi Council KZN acting chairman Bhungane Hadebe said provincial taxi operators will join the rest of the country in the strike.

“It’s a national strike and there will be no taxis operating tomorrow,” he said.

The business sector has acknowledged the effect of the strike. Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business chief executive Andrew Layman said it will have a devastating effect on the economy.

“The strike will have a detrimental effect on business, because if taxis are not available, employees will not be able to go to work.”

He said some companies have put recovery measures in place, but added that it is a privilege for a few. “I believe some companies have made arrangements to make up for [today] by working at the weekend, but only companies in the production line of business. Retail businesses rely on staff to operate.”

Layman said that even though he understands the reason for the strike, he does not support it. “No businessman can support a strike because it will have a devastating effect on the economy in the long term.”

Durban Chamber of Commerce president Moses Tembe said business will be hit hard by the strike. “Business is going to lose a lot of revenue and productivity, but we are hoping that there will be no damage to property.” Tembe said business respects the rights of the marchers.

“We don’t encourage strikes, but we accept it if it is conducted within the parameters of the constitution.”

KZN Cosatu chairman Zet Luzipo said he cannot say how many people are expected to march, “but we have mobilised the workers and we will have crowds in Durban”.

Luzipo said two marches will be held in KZN: the main march in Durban and another in Ladysmith. The Durban march will start at 10 am at Botha’s Park and proceed to the city hall.

Police spokesman Captain Muzi Mngomezulu said measures are in place to ensure security is tight. “Police officers will be deployed in the city to guard and guide the marchers. The streets adjoining West Street will be affected and will be partly closed.”

In Pietermaritzburg, no marches have been planned. “We will, however, monitor the situation. If there are any disruptions, police will act to enforce the law,” Midlands SAPS spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said.

The demonstrations are being staged across the country to protest against the rising cost of living. The trade union is demanding that the government address the electricity crisis, which has had a knock-on effect on food prices. Last month, Cosatu staged another strike to protest against the rise of fuel and electricity prices.

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