Nelson Mandela Bay mayor pleads for SANDF to help control taxi strike violence
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Cape Town – Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) mayor Nqaba Bhanga has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane to ask for the SANDF to assist the SAPS in restoring law and order amid taxi strike violence.
Nqaba said in a statement he convened a meeting this morning with all stakeholders following the violent destruction of private property, buses and municipal infrastructure since the strike started on Tuesday. There have also been reports of trucks and buses being torched.
Patients and healthcare workers at the Motherwell NU8 Clinic in Nelson Mandela Bay were also removed from the facility after staff were chased out by protesters on Wednesday night.
The mayor is not willing to allow an internal taxi dispute to disrupt economic activity in the area. Payment disputes between drivers and taxi owners linked to the Uncedo Service Taxi Association are reportedly behind the strike in Nelson Mandela Bay.
The Nelson Mandela Municipality said in a statement the desired result of the protesters is a total shutdown, with the primary targets in NMBM the M17, R75 and N2.
Bhanga said: “I have engaged the National Minister of Transport, the Premier and the provincial commissioner of the South African Police Services regarding this untenable situation. They share our concerns regarding the drawn-out deliberations and the impasse.
’’Therefore I have written to the President and the Premier and requested that the provisions of section 201 (2) (a) of the Constitution be invoked and the SANDF be deployed to Nelson Mandela Bay, to accompany and assist the SAPS in restoring law and order.’’
Each time theres a strike theres vandalism of property... I wont be surprised if they'd burned the schools and clinics... then again they'll strike "we have no busses, schools and clinics" it has to stop🚫 @MbalulaFikile #Gqeberhataxistrike#onted #algoabusses #motherwell pic.twitter.com/G4eXfxbXGG— El_svago (@SiviweSobethwa) May 26, 2021
The Nelson Mandela Municipality said: ’’Thursday and Friday the whole of PE and Uitenhage will be shutdown, with indications that infrastructure damage will continue with road closure and fires.
’’Over the weekend, the taxis intend to recover loss of earnings by operating on Saturday and Sunday. They intend to restart the strike and protest action again on Monday for the duration of next week, should their grievances in relation to the monies that they were not paid remain unresolved.
’’The strike serves to ensure that economic activity must be shutdown as means to gain the upper hand and force compliance with their demands.
'’Continued shutdown will negatively impact economic activity within the Metro. Increased levels of violent protest with damage to infrastructure and injuries are likely.’’