TAXI drivers downed keys and blocked roads in Mamelodi, unhappy with lockdown regulations and payments to their association. Picture: Supplied
TAXI drivers downed keys and blocked roads in Mamelodi, unhappy with lockdown regulations and payments to their association. Picture: Supplied

Workers stranded as Mamelodi taxis strike

By Sakhile Ndlazi Time of article published Jun 2, 2020

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Pretoria - Workers who were excited to get back into the thick of things after a two-month break started their first day on a bad note yesterday due to a taxi strike in Mamelodi.

From the early morning, Solomon Mahlangu Drive near Mahube and Ikageng was blocked by taxi drivers.

The busy road, which is under construction, was barricaded with rocks and burning tyres in the morning, causing chaos.

It was said taxi drivers were protesting against the number of people they were allowed to transport during lockdown level 3, and against the monthly protection fee paid to the association.

A taxi driver told the Pretoria News that drivers were expected to pay a “protection fee” of R200 every week to the taxi association.

“Where does this money go?” he asked.

Taxi drivers were only allowed to depart from the rank with a 70% load.

“We only carry 70% as stated in the regulations, but passengers are complaining. They say they're getting to their destinations late, but there's nothing we can do, we can’t break the law.”

Commuters also complained about the limitations on passenger numbers, saying they feared arriving at work late.

Police kept a close eye on the protest and it later dispersed. No arrests were made.

Workers could be seen standing in long queues along Solomon Mahlangu Drive before their return to work. Scores of commuters were stranded across the sprawling township.

Residents trying to exit the township were hampered and had to seek alternative roads, causing major backlogs.

Taxi queues were much longer as people, mostly domestic workers, returned to work. All domestic workers and other care workers employed in private households could go back from yesterday, as long as their employer ensured that adequate safety measures were in place. The employer is also required to issue them with a permit.

Millicent Thubakgale said she was happy to go back to earn a living for her family. The 40-year-old, who works for an elderly couple in Faerie Glen, said she was relieved.

“I need to take care of my kids. The lockdown was hectic. We barely got by and relied on food parcels.” She said although her employers gave her some food parcels before lockdown, she had a tough time making ends meet.

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL's  #Coronavirus trend page.
** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za

Pretoria News

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