Johannesburg – Metered taxi operators, protesting against Uber, used their cars to block access to Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport on Friday morning.

Police said the protest, which affected R21, R24 and N12 highways, was illegal and metered taxis would be removed and those involved arrested.

Metered taxi operators are protesting against Uber, which they complain is not registered to operate.

Motorists travelling along the R21 to and from the OR Tambo International Airport were stuck in early morning traffic after metered taxis blocked the highway.

The blockade affected traffic as far away from the airport as Tembisa. A motorist living in Tembisa and travelling to Pretoria said she could not access the R21 from the township after four metered taxi drivers blocked off all lanes.

“It is a mess … you cannot get onto the R21 at all, both directions. I started trying to navigate traffic from Hospital View [in Tembisa] and when I finally got on to the slip and joined the R21 I could see four metered taxi vehicles ahead, blocking the road,” said Tembisa resident Gloria Makhafola

“More cars were behind me and there were hundreds more in front, I had to make a u-turn, facing oncoming traffic and find another route, via Irene, to Pretoria.”

There was no police presence before 6am when she started travelling, she said.

There were fears that that thousands would miss their flights due to the protest as they could not reach the airport, those trying to leave the airport were not able to move out of the precinct either.

An Airports Company of SA (ACSA) official told EWN that her company was trying to negotiate with airlines to get them to place those who missed flights into next available flights.

Metered taxi drivers have in the past clashed with Uber. Uber drivers were attacked and their vehicles damaged, especially in the Sandton area.

Metered taxi drivers want Uber, which has become a big competitor due to its affordable pricing structure, to leave South Africa. 

African News Agency (ANA)