Buses block the intersection of Paul Kruger and Madiba Streets. Picture: Ntando Makhubu

Pretoria - The atmosphere in the Pretoria CBD was tense this morning as the bus strike entered its second day.

Tshwane bus drivers blocked off key intersections with municipal buses for the second consecutive day, but this time protesters would not allow any vehicular traffic to enter cordoned off streets. 

With the exception of the Gautrain bus, no buses were running and taxis made every effort to circumnavigate the obstacles.

At the intersection of Madiba and Paul Kruger streets, those trying to enter were intimidated, while stones were placed across the intersection of Madiba and Thabo Sehume streets.

Strikers were much louder and more aggressive than yesterday, and threatened to "switch off the power" to the CBD. 

Traffic backed up heading into the city on E'skia Mphalele street. Video: Goitsemang Tlhabye


Shops in the CBD indicated that they would close early.

In a radio interview with Bongani Bingwa on 702, acting mayor Abel Tau said bus drivers' action was illegal. 

He said he was involved in talks with representatives of Samwu (the Municipal Workers Union) until 2am and there had been a commitment that the buses which had blocked the streets since Monday morning would be removed.

"These are conditions we cannot negotiate under," he said - a reference to talks around worker demands for an 18% salary increase to match that of management in the Tshwane Metro, and the continued blockade of the city.

He said the buses could not be moved as planned last night as drivers had disabled the mechanics. 

There were Samwu protestors picketing who, he said, had intimidated tow trucks sent in to forcibly move the buses. 

He claimed calls for help with the deployment from the SA Police were thwarted because of a high-level meeting taking place, a reference to the ANC NEC meeting. 

Despite the union bus drivers refusing to move the buses overnight, he denied city leadership was at the mercy of the union because the strike was illegal.

 The situation was "abnormal" and the city wanted to restore normality, he said.

Asked about the involvement of the mayor, Stevens Mokgalapa, he said he was out of the country on a pre-arranged trip. - Val Boje

Pretoria News