At least one vehicle set alight in Pietermaritzburg taxi strike

2018-01-25 17:42
Chaos in Pietermaritzburg during taxi strike. (Supplied: Niksha Deeplaul)

Chaos in Pietermaritzburg during taxi strike. (Supplied: Niksha Deeplaul)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pietermaritzburg – At least one vehicle has been set alight and several others have been pelted with stones during a strike by minibus taxi drivers in the Pietermaritzburg CBD on Thursday.

Pictures of roads barricaded with burning rubble, concrete rubbish bins and a burning car have been circulated on social media.

South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) Umgungundlovu region chairperson Bheki Sokhela told News24 that the strike was organised by minibus taxi drivers who are not happy with the "expensive" fines they get from the Umsunduzi municipality's traffic officers when letting passengers off in the CBD.

"When we woke up this morning (Thursday), the drivers were already on strike. When they spoke to us as taxi operators in the region, they told us that the Umsunduzi municipality's traffic officers were charging them a loaf and a half when fining them for minor offences such as offloading in the CBD," he said.

Traffic fines

He said some of the drivers showed them traffic fines that were as high as R7 000.

In the CBD, there are no designated passenger offloading zones for taxis, he said.

"They asked where are they supposed to offload when there are no offloading zones. The drivers are not against the traffic fines, but they are asking for reasonable fines that they can afford to pay," he said.

The drivers also demanded that traffic officers not conduct road blocks between 05:00 and 08:00 in the morning.

Chaos in Pietermaritzburg during taxi strike. (Supplied: Niksha Deeplaul) 

Drunk drivers

Sokhela said Santaco had met with the municipality's officials and had given them a memorandum of the drivers' grievances.

"They'll get back to us within seven days," he said.

He denied any knowledge of cars being pelted with stones and set alight.

"I haven't heard about that. I was in the meeting with municipal officials at the city hall. I can't confirm if it happened or not. What I know is that police attempted to arrest some of them," he said.

He said he was doubtful that taxis would resume operating on Thursday afternoon.

"Most of the drivers were drunk during the strike and I don't think they are in a good state to drive. I can't put people's lives at risk by allowing them to drive passengers home because they might cause accidents now," said Sokhela, adding that he "thinks" the minibus taxis would only start operating on Friday.

Municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha told News24 via WhatsApp that the municipality condemned "the illegal strike in the strongest possible terms".

"We have received the memorandum from the taxi operators and we will be responding to it through the organised taxi body.

"We would like to extend our sincere apologies to the residents, visitors and businesses that were affected by such. We are working with the police, municipality security to ensure the situation is contained. We condemn vandalizing of property and the law will take its cause where necessary," she said.

Chaos in Pietermaritzburg during taxi strike. (Supplied: Niksha Deeplaul) 

 

KZN Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo strongly condemned the burning of a departmental vehicle, and disruptions to healthcare service delivery at Edendale Hospital "due to the actions of protesting taxi drivers".

"In addition to the torching of the vehicle on Langalibalele Street, the protesting taxi drivers blocked access to and from Edendale Hospital resulting in some patients having to be sent home. While patients struggled to get to the hospital, some operations had to be cancelled as doctors couldn't get to work on time," he said in a statement.

Police were not immediately available for comment.

WATCH: Moments leading up to car being torched in #PmbTaxiStrike

Read more on:    santaco  |  pietermaritzburg  |  protests

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

HSE Manager

Cape Town
Tumaini Consulting
R550 000.00 - R650 000.00 Per Year

Cluster Financial Manager

Cape Town
Network Finance
R950 000.00 - R1 000 000.00 Per Year

SQL Reporter

Cape Town
Communicate Cape Town IT
R10 000.00 - R12 000.00 Per Month

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.