Heavy traffic congestion in Pretoria CBD starts to clear as strike winds down

2019-07-29 19:08
Gridlocked traffic in the Tshwane CBD due to a bus driver strike. (Image via Twitter)

Gridlocked traffic in the Tshwane CBD due to a bus driver strike. (Image via Twitter)

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A strike in Pretoria by municipal bus drivers, which left the CBD gridlocked for most of Monday, has started to dissipate.

Buses and trucks were parked in the middle of several roads in the CBD, leading to heavy traffic congested, News24 reported earlier.

The strike emanates from a wage dispute, with bus drivers affiliated to the South African Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) seeking an 18% increase.

Samwu's regional secretary, Mpho Tladinyane, told News24 the union was seeking the same increase given to senior managers. 

On Monday morning, Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) spokesperson Isaac Mahamba told News24 the strike action had affected every street leading into the CBD.

"This included Francis Baard, Madiba, Lilian Ngoyi and Sisulu streets," he said.

By Monday afternoon, traffic had started easing as all the trucks had been removed from the roads and only a few buses were still blocking certain roads, Mahamba added.

"Most of the roads are open and no arrests have been made at this stage."

READ: Tshwane CBD gridlocked as striking municipal bus drivers block roads

The mayoral committee member for roads and transport Sheila Senkubuge told News24 earlier the City of Tshwane was aware that the protest was going ahead.

However, measures put in place at the depot, where the buses were parked, had not prevented workers from taking the vehicles out, she said.

"We were informed last week about the wage strike, but what we are seeing now is opportunistic elements, where drivers decided to use municipal property."

In a statement, the City condemned the strike, calling it an "illegal protest".

"The current disruption that has brought the City's services to an abrupt halt is opportunistic and undermines its stability. It is concerning that the flagrant violation of law and order has overshadowed sincere efforts by the City to resolve the impasse over the demand for an 18% increase," the Office of the Executive Mayor said in a statement.

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula has urged bus drivers to respect the rights of other road users and to desist from blocking roads while they raise their grievances with the municipality.

"The City is not only the administrative capital of the country, but also a critical economic hub," Mbalula said in a statement.

"A shutdown of this nature not only undermines the rights of other road users to access their places of work or centre of economic activity, but has the potential to deal a severe blow to an economy which can ill afford disruptions. It must not be allowed to continue."

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Read more on:    pretoria  |  strike action

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