National taxi strike looming, warns Santaco KZN

Durban – The SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) in KwaZulu-Natal has reiterated that members may stage a national taxi strike in July if a meeting with government representatives does not go in their favour.

Santaco KZN spokesperson Mandla Mzelemu told News24 on Tuesday that the strike on July 12 will go ahead if government fails to meet with them before the proposed strike date.

He said the looming strike forms part of a series of protests they’ve recently staged in KZN and Gauteng.

"This time around we will be marching to the legislatures of all the provinces in the country," he warned.

He said during the July strike, they plan to demand that government subsidise the taxi industry.

Santaco had first marched to the Toyota plant situated in Prospecton, Isipingo, south of Durban on May 31.

That march was to demand Toyota to decrease the escalating cost of the Toyota Quantum minibus which is preferred by government, said Mzelemu.

The Toyota Quantum was introduced in the country 10 years ago.

When it was introduced, it was at a fully imported price of R220 000. It is now however locally produced at R450 000 before interest, which the industry feels is too expensive, Santaco said.

According to the organisation’s calculations, one Toyota Quantum costs more than R1m when the deposit, interest rate, instalments, premiums and insurance have been considered.

"The march in Gauteng [last week] was directed at SA Taxi Finance for overcharging us in terms of interest," he said.

Both the KZN and Gauteng marches saw major routes and highways around both the provinces blocked.

Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane told News24 that they are aware of the looming taxi strike.

Police will be deployed accordingly to monitor the looming taxi strike, he said.

"We are also appealing to the taxi owners to obey the rules of the law and not obstruct any traffic from any roads," Zwane said.

Those who will act outside the law will be caught and arrested, he warned.

"Taxi owners need to respect the rights of other road users who are not part of any march or protests," he said.


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