Gauteng Traffic warns taxi operators who intimidate motorists during protest
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By Ndinannyi Mpilo
Johannesburg – The Gauteng Traffic Police has issued a warning against taxi operators who have been accused of intimidating motorists while also obstructing roads during their protest action on Wednesday.
This comes after motorist and commuters spent the majority of the morning looking for alternative routes as highways and main roads were blocked due to the National Taxi Alliance (NTA) protest.
Members of the NTA marched to the Department of Transport and the Union Buildings over Covid-19 relief funds they claim were promised but never paid.
In one incident, The National Press Club reported their secretariat, Petrie Vogel was attacked by people believed to have been taxi operators.
A video of the incident shows a group of men with taxis nearby, pointing at her, one hitting her car and showing the middle finger.
Her windscreen was shattered in the process.
Many workers were stranded as they could not go to work as well as pupils writing their matric examinations.
Gauteng Traffic Police Spokesperson Sello Maremane said while they recognised picketing was a constitutional right of every citizen, obstructing a public road constituted a traffic offence and was punishable by law.
“We would like to issue a stern warning against taxi operators who are causing unnecessary obstruction on the roads.
“The Gauteng Traffic Police and various law enforcement agencies will not hesitate to act against any form of lawlessness on our roads.
"The strike has a negative impact on our economy since Gauteng is the economic hub of our country. Taxi operators have avenues they can explore to raise their concerns instead of resorting to intimidation and blockage of roads,“ he said.
Gauteng Traffic Police Public Transport Intervention Unit said they were monitoring the situation closely in order to deal decisively with any form of intimidation and lawlessness on the roads.
Road users are urged to report any form of lawlessness to the authorities, 012 391 2000 or 011 689 3600.