File picture: Bongiwe Mchunu / Independent Media.

The Johannesburg Metro Police Department has lashed out at the Alexandra based taxi associations that are behind Monday’s taxi strike that left hundreds of commuters stranded.

The JMPD also reported a case of intimidation, in which the driver of a bakkie was harassed for giving stranded commuters a lift in Killarney.

The one-day strike was in response to the JMPD’s ‘Operation Buya Mtheto’, which has seen more than 500 unroadworthy, unlicensed and illegal minibus taxis being impounded since the beginning of the year.

The JMPD said it was on high alert, with officers having been deployed to the identified hotspots to ensure that law and order are maintained.

“We will not surrender to lawlessness. Illegal, non-compliant and irresponsible operators cannot expect us to look away whilst they play with the lives of commuters and other motorists on the road,” said public safety MMC Michael Sun.

“We will certainly not be bullied into submission by individuals who promote lawless conduct and behaviour. We invite the operators affected to engage with us in a mature and professional manner, and it is in the interest of everyone that we find a sustainable solution.”
The JMPD reiterated that it would continue to impound vehicles that are deemed illegal and/or unsafe.

“It is also crucial to note that legal compliances by motorists and their vehicles in line with legislation such as the National Road Traffic Act are compulsory and enforcement are not selective, but applies across the board,” the JMPD said in a statement.

Over the weekend a message from two taxi associations circulated on social media, advising commuters to make alternative plans to get to work.

“Due to impoundment of our vehicles / petrol Hike / removal of roadworthy discs / a mark on vehicles. We are embarking on a one-day shutdown on the 25/06/2018. Our vehicles will not be operating on the said day. We want to draw the attention to the Minister of Transport about the ill-treatment to the taxi industry by the government. (Please make alternative transport),” the letter read.

IOL Motoring