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KwaMhlanga, Mpumalanga - Hundreds of commuters between Mpumalanga and Gauteng have been left stranded following a stoppage by taxi operators, a Sapa correspondent reported on Thursday.
The Marapyane, Makata and Simunye taxi association stopped all trips between Marapyane village, outside KwaMhlanga, and Pretoria on Wednesday.
In a protest against the rival taxi association, Central Top 11, which they want to leave the area, they blocked the road between Pankop and Hammanskraal, but allowed buses and private vehicles passage.
“We don't make enough money anymore. The roads are empty and Central Top 11's being in the area is really killing us financially,” said the three associations' spokesman Jerry Maoka.
The three associations have about 900 minibus taxis that ferry commuters from nine villages between Lefiso and Pankop.
Maoka said their differences with Central Top 11 started in 2010, but calmed when the provincial roads and transport department intervened.
He said Central Top 11 refused to share commuters with other associations operating in the area.
“Central Top 11 should offload passengers in our local ranks where local taxis will transport them into villages, but instead, they shoot straight to town and this leaves us broke. They must either work with us or leave our area,” said Maoka.
Central Top 11 secretary John Tseke said his association was trying to resolve the problem as soon as possible.
“We are in a meeting as we speak trying to resolve all the thorny issues,” he said.
Commuter Tumi Motau said the stoppage had to end.
“What is happening here is really bad. We hope whatever they are fighting for is resolved so that our lives can go back to normal.”
Sergeant Hastings Chaane said the police were monitoring the situation.
“It has been peaceful so far. We will continue monitoring the situation until it has been resolved,” he said.