SA TIMES- TAXI SHUTDOWN Commuters stranded at MTN taxi rank, which is completely empty – no taxi in sight except one blocking the road Several Gauteng roads were blockaded on Monday as taxi drivers affiliated to the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) protested against what it believes to be insufficient government relief offered to the industry.
The Mabopane highway and R55 were among the roads that were blockaded.
The council is demanding R20 000 per vehicle.
Speaking in an interview on Radio 702, Santaco spokesperson Thabiso Molelekwa condemned the reported intimidation of motorists and commuters. There were reports that commuters were pulled off buses.
Molelekwa said representatives were sent to “engage with the leadership” in the province as “this is not helping, this is not how you express dissatisfaction”.
He said taking action was “the last thing we wanted to do”, but added that since the start of the lockdown, the industry has “literally been subsidising the commuter”.
“This is an industry that is not subsidised by government,” he said.
“Operators have not been making money. They have been struggling to make just the basic income for petrol. If there’s no serious intervention as we speak, in the next six to eight months at least 45% of taxi operators are going to lose their vehicles.”
Taxi operators initially mandated Santaco to negotiate for about R20 000 per taxi, but acknowledged this could “probably be too much”. He added that R5 000, however, was “far” from an acceptable offer.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, who urged taxi associations to not shut down, on Saturday admitted the decision to avail R1.135 billion to the industry as relief support was “too little” to compensate for the lockdown.
Government, however, did not have more money to give, he said.