PORT ELIZABETH, September 19 – The taxi strike across the Eastern Cape was in full swing on Wednesday morning causing havoc on the province’s roads.
Police spokesperson, Colonel Sibongile Soci said in Mdantsane, near East London, a group of taxi drivers burnt tyres in Qumza Road near the NU6 mall. Soci said the taxi drivers were armed with pangas and sharp instruments and police had to disperse the crowd using rubber bullets.
Police said protesters also burnt tyres on the R102 near Berlin. Flames were extinguished by Buffalo City Metro Fire Department. In Port Alfred, taxis operated as normal on the R67 and R72 with no incidents being reported.
In Cofimvaba roads were blocked at Ngcobo near Nyanaga. In Grahamstown taxis blockaded and burnt tyres along the N2 at Peddie preventing motorists from entering or exiting the town. A road to Nompumelelo Hospital in Peddie was also blockaded.
In Port Elizabeth, several roads were blocked. In Highfield Road in Schauderville protesters set up burning tyres and blocked the road early on Wednesday morning.
Roads in Bethelsdorp, Bloemendal and Chatty were also blocked off with burning tyres, police said. Kenako Mall, situated along Spondo and Uitenhage Road, was also blocked as protesters burnt tyres and threw stones at motorists.
Roads around VW in Uitenhage were also closed. Algoa Bus Service and the Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS) suspended its services on Wednesday as a precautionary measure.
Learners writing exams were affected and the Department of Education issued a memorandum for the re-scheduling of Grade 12 trial examinations to next week.
Members of the SA National Taxi Council (SANTACO) embarked on a one-day provincial shutdown of services bringing commuter services across the province to a standstill.
The taxi operators are disgruntled about payment issues around scholar transport which are administered by the Eastern Cape Department of Transport, under MEC, Weziwe Tikana.
They have labelled Tikana “arrogant” and accused her of not taking the taxi industry seriously. SANTACO members have since marched to the ANC’s provincial headquarters at Calata House in King Williams Town to hand over a memorandum of grievances to ANC Provincial Chairperson, Oscar Mabuyane.
SANTACO has given the ANC in the province seven days to address their grievances with the Eastern Cape Department of Transport. Around midday, on Wednesday the strike was called off
-African News Agency (ANA)