Protesting taxi operators allied to the National Taxi Alliance (NTA) brought the Pretoria CBD to a standstill on Wednesday. PHOTO: Jonisayi Maromo

Pretoria - The National Taxi Alliance said that their protest in Pretoria on Wednesday, would be followed up with other marches if Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi does not give them a satisfactory responses in 21 days. 

"We have granted the minister 21 days within which to respond to our grievances, and to engage us, failing which we are going to go into the second phase. This march today was an introduction," NTA president Francis Matsitsa spoke to journalists at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. 

"The second and subsequent phases will be following, and finally if all else fails, we are going to end up in the highest court in this land -- the Constitutional Court." 

A large crowd of taxi industry role players gathered at the Union Buildings, demanding that President Jacob Zuma fire Maswanganyi. 

Read: #TaxiStrike: Fire Minister Maswanganyi, says taxi alliance

"Without a doubt, we are calling on the president to fire this minister [Maswanganyi]. Not only is the minister useless, he is also hopeless. Therefore, we are not deserving of such a minister," said Matsitsa. 

The NTA members handed a memorandum to Mandla Feni, a Chief Director in the Presidency.  

Earlier, the NTA accused Maswanganyi of “playing games” with the lives of millions of South Africans who were impacted directly by the taxi industry in the country. 

Matsitsa told more than a thousand taxi drivers and operators gathered at the department of transport in Pretoria central that Maswanganyi’s days are numbered - just like several individuals who preceded him. 

“You need to stop playing games with the taxi industry. We are the taxi industry, and we are not going anywhere. You can hope and wish the taxi industry will disappear, but it will never disappear. We have seen several ministers serve in your position,” said Matsitsa.

Also read: #TaxiStrike: Minister will regret ignoring taxi industry, warns union

“You will one day regret having ignored the NTA. All of them [previous ministers] have been fired in their numbers, and you will face the same thing. We can assure you that you will not see us in the same way again. Rest assured, many more ministers are coming after you.”

NTA said Wednesday’s march was “precipitated by the unworkable taxi recapitalisation programme, the non-subsidisation of the taxi industry, the non-issuance of operating licences to deserving taxi operators, among other problems.

The strike on Wednesday was marred by intimidation of motorists and blocking of major roads by the protesting taxi drivers.