File picture: Dumisani Sibeko.

JOHANNESBURG - Hundreds of minibus taxis on Monday blocked streets in the Johannesburg central business district (CBD) in protest to threats that their routes may be closed if the violence in the industry continues.

Taxis parked in the middle of the road closing off all lanes of main roads leading into and out of the city.

They were demanding an audience with Gauteng member of the executive committee (MEC) for Roads and Transport, Ismail Vadi. 

They said during the closure period there must be discussions and consultations with the structures of associations to find a resolution 

Last week, Vadi said the Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association (Nanduwe) and Witwatersrand Taxi Association (Wata) routes in Soweto might be closed for three months because of the violence, unrest, or instability in the public transport sector in the area.

Since the beginning of the year, three people have been shot dead and as many as six wounded by stray bullets.

Although Vadi did not address the taxi drivers, last week he put out a statement in which he said in a statement: “The Gauteng provincial government will not allow a situation where allegedly hitmen have been hired to attack taxi leaders, commuters and taxi operators”.

In July 2017, Vadi closed the rank for one month. 

On Monday, the city was grid locked for several hours as Metro police battled to clear the roads

Johannesburg Metro police spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said: "The traffic in the CBD is very heavy and we are trying by all means to control it".

African News Agency (ANA)