Mbalula vows to meet taxi, bus unions to end violence

Buses were stoned as minibus taxi drivers continued to protest against the introduction of the Autopax bus service in the Mamelodi area, east of Pretoria. Three buses were damaged. PHOTO: Lucky Nxumalo
Buses were stoned as minibus taxi drivers continued to protest against the introduction of the Autopax bus service in the Mamelodi area, east of Pretoria. Three buses were damaged. PHOTO: Lucky Nxumalo

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has reported back on a meeting with Autopax management and workers after a nine-day stayaway following the shooting of two bus drivers, and vowed to meet with taxi and bus union leaders to bring an end to the violence.

One driver was killed and one critically injured earlier in September during a shooting attack on buses en route to Johannesburg, News24 previously reported. The incident was believed to be linked to ongoing conflict with taxi operators.

Safety interventions have been agreed on and a resolution has been reached between the management of Prasa – under which Autopax falls – staff and organised labour, the department of transport said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The Minister welcomes the resolution between PRASA Management, Staff and Organised Labour to return back to work," the statement said.

"I’ve met and engaged with the workers of Autopax. I agree with them, this was not a strike but a grievance concern over the death of one of their colleagues [...] who was shot on duty."

Autopax reported earlier on Wednesday that all buses and depots were operational. Without elaborating on the details of the proposed interventions, spokesperson Nana Zenani confirmed that an agreement had been reached to secure bus drivers as they perform their duties. 

Mbalula noted his "strongest condemnation" for the attacks on bus drivers.

"It cannot be correct that these two important sectors are fighting on our roads endangering their own lives and that of many of our people who rely on buses to transport them across the country," he said.

Compiled by Marelise van der Merwe

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