Cape Town - Nyanga taxi drivers unhappy with negotiations on traffic fines went on an illegal strike on Monday 15 September.
They put tyres in the road to stop other drivers from working and hammered on the sides of passing minibuses; Provincial Traffic spokesman Richard Coleman said there were also no taxis operating in Delft this morning.
A heavy police presence, including a Nyala, was stationed at the Nyanga taxi terminus early on Monday morning.
One striking Nyanga driver said: “We are striking because the city made our ticket fines too high and we cannot pay. We are in trouble now and the owners are doing nothing about it.”
They would continue to strike until their grievances were sorted out, they said.
Earlier in September a taxi driver was shot dead and 11 buses burnt or damaged near the Nyanga bus terminus.
Msinga Mbemba, another taxi driver, said on Monday morning they were regularly arrested and, as a result, lost their jobs.
“We can’t afford these fines and when we are arrested we can’t apply for our professional driving permit.”
Taxi drivers chanted and danced at the station, stopping minibuses from leaving.
South African National Taxi Council provincial spokesman Sipho Maseti said the council believed a third party was behind Monday’s protest.
“We have spoken to taxi drivers last week and told them there was no need for protest. We are in the process of talking to the City of Cape Town.”
“One of the issues already sorted out was dormant permits that were on hold because of traffic fines, can now be renewed. That was already a victory.
“There is no need for a strike to take place,” Maseti said.
He added that it was not taxi owners involved but rather a few taxi drivers and a third party behind the protest.
“We don’t know who’s behind it. Somebody is telling them what to do.”
They had tried to negotiate with taxi drivers on Monday morning, he said, but they were not willing to talk.
Mxolisi Franse, chairman of the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association, said some of the drivers were still unhappy about traffic fines.
“We told them we are dealing with it and that they should work.”
Franse said they were trying their best to calm the situation.
“Some drivers are too afraid to drive. No one is safe.”
He said they feared for their lives.
Commuter Khanyisa Njiva, 30, had waited at the Nyanga taxi rank from 7am but was unable to find transport.
“I work in town and was supposed to be at work today. I’ve already phoned my boss to explain.
“It is very disappointing. The taxi drivers say they will be striking the entire week. Tomorrow I will take the bus.”