Johannesburg-Millions of people in Gauteng are likely to be left stranded on Monday as the taxi industry embarks on a strike in the province.
While Santaco (SA National Taxi Council) in Gauteng could not confirm the strike‚ the department of community safety released a statement expressing its concern over the looming strike.
“The Gauteng Law Enforcement Agencies have noted with concern the planned taxi protest in Gauteng scheduled for Monday‚ May 30 2016‚”the department said.
According to the department‚ the strike is in response of Operation ke Molao (operation it is law) which was implemented in the province‚ resulting in hundreds of minibus taxis being impounded.
Santaco’s secretary-general in the province‚ Ralph Jones‚ said the taxi industry was willing to engage both the MEC of transport Ismail Vadi and his community safety counterpart Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane.
“I am not sure of any strike on Monday…there was a possibility of going on strike but we thought‚ no‚ let us talk and see where we can find each other. We are trying to engage both the departments. They have been impounding our vehicles and none of them have been able to come to the party on how they can resolve the issue of operating licenses. Uber came in just a year ago and already it is getting operating licenses. That is not fair. We cannot year in‚ year out having this thing going on. This is our business. They have impounded 300 cars at R1‚500 per vehicle and they do not want to release them in this operation‚” Jones said.
Operating licenses have been a thorny issue between Vadi and the minibus taxi industry for years.
The Gauteng portfolio committee on transport held a focus intervention study on the matter and found that the department was also at fault as there were corrupt officials within it who issued operating licenses‚ resulting in conflicts on routes.
A week ago‚ Vadi came under serious criticism from cab drivers when he officially launched a process that would allow Uber driver to get operating licenses.