Taxi drivers block roads in Mahikeng

2015-05-18 11:16
Taxi protest in Mahikeng. (<a href="https://twitter.com/DesKabo" target="_blank">Kabo Letlhogela, Twitter</a>)

Taxi protest in Mahikeng. (Kabo Letlhogela, Twitter)

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Mahikeng - A high number of police and traffic officials have been deployed in Mahikeng, after minibus taxi drivers used a bus and a truck to block roads on Monday, the North West transport department said.

"They [taxi drivers] managed to snatch keys from a bus and blocked a road with it in Mmabatho and in town [Mahikeng], they snatched keys from a truck and blocked the road," said spokesperson Shuping Daddy Sebolecwe.

He said traffic officials and police officers were monitoring the situation while attempts were being made to remove the bus and the truck from the roads.

"Traffic is flowing well. Taxis and other mode of transport are moving freely. It is only taxis operating from Mmabatho to Mahikeng that are not operating."

Shut down

Taxi drivers shut down Mahikeng on Friday, by blocking all major intersections in the city. They were apparently protesting about the introduction of the Reakgona high frequency bus service.

Taxi drivers allege that the department of transport has introduced the high frequency bus service without their consultation and they fear it would squeeze them out of business.

The high frequency bus service project is part of the Mahikeng Rebranding, Renewal and Repositioning (MRRR) programme. It is also intended to reduce private car dependency and traffic congestion, especially during peak hours. North West Transport MEC Gaoage Molapisi launched the bus service on Wednesday.

The chairperson of Central Region Transport Co-operative, Tseko Moribe said the taxi industry have been consulted about the introduction of Reakgona high frequency bus service.

"The department has since established a task team that was working on this programme myself as the chairperson and the secretary Mr Motsamai we are serving on that task team together with the appointed service provider which is Atamelang in this case," he said.

"So indeed the department has consulted that association and we are very aware and know how and where the buses will operate," Moribe.

No support

He said taxi owners did not support their drivers' protest action.

"Taxi owners did not support the move [to block the road]. They have committed themselves to talk to their drivers not to block the road again."

Transport MEC Gaoage Molapisi said it was not correct that the bus service would push minibus taxis out of service.

"We want to assure the public of Mahikeng that such disruptions will not continue on Monday or in future as we are aware of the threat already circulating,” he said.

“We wish to state the propaganda that the bus fare is going to be R3.50 or R5 is ridiculous and misleading, its utter blue lies.”

Molapise held a meeting with the taxi industry on Saturday.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  transport  |  protests

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