Eastern Cape taxis threaten to strike if road isn't tarred

2018-07-19 05:17
The roads to Hluleka T junction service over 19 villages outside Mthatha. (Kwanele Mketeni, GroundUp)

The roads to Hluleka T junction service over 19 villages outside Mthatha. (Kwanele Mketeni, GroundUp)

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WATCH: Taxi strike leaves commuters in Alexandra stranded

2018-06-25 18:57

Alexandra commuters have been left stranded after taxi operators embarked on a strike. Watch.WATCH

Taxi drivers operating in Ntlaza, outside Mthatha are threatening to embark on strike action if the Department of Transport fails to build a tar road.

According to GroundUp, Ward 17 councillor Thembekile Mbiko said the poor state of the road was a danger to the community.

"Ambulances take forever to arrive because the road is terrible," said Mbiko.

Ncedo Taxi Association chairperson Dumo Ndzendze said they had been calling on the government to build a road since 2009.

"We have lost thousands of rands because of this road. It has too many potholes," said Ndzendze. "We constantly have to fix our bakkies and we have car instalments to pay. We end up losing."

Ndzendze said R279 million meant for the road construction was used in 2009 for disaster relief after storms destroyed many people's homes.

'We have been patient for too long'

Transport MEC Weziwe Tikana met with the community last week to discuss the matter.

"The minister told us they only have R11m budgeted for the road and that it would not be enough to construct a tar road," said Ndzendze. "We want the minister to ask OR Tambo District Municipality to pay back the money it shifted from our budget in 2009. We want [Tikana] to add that amount to the available budget and construct a proper tar road here."

Spokesperson for the department Unathi Binqose said: "We cannot repay money that has been shifted from a budget to assist in unforeseen economic or financial events … However, we take [the taxis'] concerns seriously, which is why we met with them. We have asked them to give us three months to knock on Treasury's door in a bid to source enough capital to begin the kind of construction they have requested."

Ndzendze said: "We want nothing but a tar road here. We have been patient for too long. Should the department fail to provide that within the agreed on three-month period, we will engage in an intense strike action."

Traditional leader Chief Derrick Ndamase said: "We'd like the government to do right by its people … Before this situation gets out of control."
Read more on:    east london  |  service delivery  |  transport

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