#TaxiStrike: Protesting drivers bring Tshwane to a halt
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Tshwane - From early Wednesday morning, taxi drivers blocked all major intersections in Mabopane, Ga-Rankuwa and Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, in a bid to prevent people from getting to work.
Reports of violence linked to the strike have come from the city's townships, with commuters left stranded on Wednesday morning.
Some roads are apparently blocked, and Mayor Solly Msimanga has said in a statement that train services have halted.
Reports were also received that some entrances to Mamelodi, east of Pretoria, were blocked.
The Pretoria CBD and routes the operators intend to use later on Wednesday when they hand over a memorandum of grievances to Mayor Solly Msimanga at Tshwane House, are meanwhile quiet and open to traffic.
— City of Joburg (@CityofJoburgZA) August 16, 2017
Take note of a possible protest by Taxi drivers tomorrow. TMPD officers will be deployed. Most Streets in the CBD might also be affected pic.twitter.com/Bt4CfybpBM
— Tshwane Metro Police (@TMPDSafety) August 15, 2017
The Tshwane Metro Police has warned motorists to avoid the CBD on Wednesday.
While warning the public about the protest action, the Metro police said there was no application made for the protest action and no permission was given for the strike.
Metrorail train services operating from Mabopane to Soshanguve were meanwhile temporarily suspended due to violent taxi protesters who blocked the railway lines with foreign objects under the Ruth First bridge.
Metrorail spokesperson Lillian Mofokeng said trains are turning around at Kopanong Station. In Pienaarspoort trains are turning around at Mamelodi Gardens station due to taxi drivers burning objects at Pienaarspoort level crossing.
She said it is unfortunate that trains and the railway environment were always targeted when protesters expressed their dissatisfaction on issues that had nothing to do with Metrorail services and thus inconvenience thousands of commuters.
“Metrorail is monitoring other corridors and we will not hesitate to suspend trains for safety reasons,” said Mofokeng.
The taxi operators are protesting against the issuing of enforcement tickets which they say block their efforts of renewing driving permits and vehicle licences.
Metro police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba assured commuters and city residents that all would be done to ensure they went about their daily activities.
— MPHAHLELE KUNENE (@Mphaliprof1) August 16, 2017
— Tumi (@Tumi_Malatse) August 16, 2017
— Rob Beezy (@TrafficSA) August 16, 2017
"We will try and make sure that streets that have been blocked are cleared as soon as possible."
Meanwhile, a few taxis could be seen along the roads coming in and out of Centurion, and the normally busy taxi traffic was absent.
Upper Madiba Street, which leads to Tshwane House, is eerily quiet.