The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry says the ongoing taxi strike has taken a heavy toll on several business sector organisations affiliated to it, with some reporting that 80% of their workforce was impacted.
Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry deputy president Derryn Brigg said although for many sectors it was too soon to quantify the economic loss, all report widespread absenteeism linked to commuter inability to reach the workplace.
“One sector drew a parallel between the impact of the strike on business operations and the impact of Covid-19.”
The Retail Motor Industry Sector reported that 50% of the workforce was impacted, leading to the implementation of a “no work, no pay” policy.
The were fears that negative publicity might result in operations in the Business Process Outsourcing Sector shifting away from Cape Town.
At Fish SA, 80% of the workforce was affected, with a substantial number of workers either absent or arriving late. Factory operations were notably affected, leading to underutilised production lines.
“The Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa anticipated a sharp decline in bookings in local establishments in light of the UK issuing a safety warning for its citizens in Cape Town. This concern is amplified by the fact that the sector is currently in its peak booking season, which aligns with the upcoming summer period. Export activities are also affected due to concerns for staff safety, further impacting the movement of goods and products,” said Brigg.
The South African Association of Freight Forwarders experienced “severe impact” as the airport and its precincts were blocked off, preventing air freight from getting through.
Absenteeism of about 60% in some of the larger establishments in the furniture manufacturing sector was reported.
“Additionally, the Cape Town Port operated with only 60% of its staff, significantly hampering ship movements, container discharge, and collection/deliveries. As a result, goods are not reaching production lines, and finished products are not reaching consumers.
“At the Production Technologies Association of South African, the training centre was affected and forced to find overnight accommodation for affected students. Board meeting was cancelled due to airport security fears," said Brigg.
Premier Alan Winde said: “We have been communicating with stakeholders in the private sector as well as the consular corps to keep them abreast of everything we as the provincial government and our partners have been doing to address this issue.
“It angers and saddens me to see how law-abiding residents are being prevented from going about their everyday lives by this deadly thuggery. In our meeting this morning (Tuesday), I again made it clear that those who break the law and place our residents at risk must face consequences.”