JOHANNESBURG, June 25 – A Johannesburg official on Monday, slammed the taxi strike which left thousands of commuter stranded.
“We want to see lawful and responsible public transport operators flourish in their businesses and urge all commuters, transport business owners and motorists to co-operate with each other to ensure safer roads for all of us,” Public Safety Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) Michael Sun said.
“It is also crucial to note that legal compliances by motorists and their vehicles in line with legislation such as the National Road Traffic Act are compulsory and enforcement are not selective, but applies across the board,” said Sun.
The Alexandra Taxi Association embarked on a strike after Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) impounded hundreds of unroadworthy taxis over the weekend.
Sun said they will not surrender to lawlessness, adding that illegal, non-compliant and irresponsible operators cannot expect them to look away whilst they play with the lives of commuters and other motorists on the road.
He said they will not be bullied into submission by individuals who promote lawless conduct and behaviour.
“We invite the operators affected to engage with us in a mature and professional manner, and it is in the interest of everyone that we find a sustainable solution,” said Sun
He said the JMPD will continue with law enforcement and to impound vehicles that were deemed illegal and/or unsafe.
Thousands of public transport commuters were left stranded on Monday after taxi drivers in parts of Johannesburg went on strike in protest against the impounding of their unroadworthy vehicles.
On Sunday, the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department said it had impounded more than 500 minibus taxis since February after they were found to be in very poor condition, with some displaying license discs which had expired as far back as 2012 while others showed fake discs from newspaper clippings.
In response, the Alexandra, Randburg, Midrand, Sandton Taxi Association announced its intention to go on a one-day shutdown on Monday, saying it wanted to draw the attention of the transport minister to what it called “the ill-treatment to the taxi industry by government”.
On Monday social media was abuzz with reports of the impact of the strike, in a city where the majority of commuters rely on public transport. Social media users posted numerous pictures and videos posted commuters left stranded at taxi ranks in the sprawling township of Alexandra, and at the Bree and Noord ranks in the Johannesburg central business district, as drivers parked their vehicles outside.
— Imagine Ngobeni II (@FumaniValambya) June 25, 2018
— Thomas_ThaGreat 🍂 (@ItsThomas_Jr) June 25, 2018
— Thabo Leshilo (@leshilot) June 25, 2018
— Bell Beast. (@BelBeastz) June 25, 2018
#TaxiStrike held at ransom by taxi owners who feel that we need them more than they need us… If only we could pull this reverse strike and choose not to use them for a week so they can feel what we feel. pic.twitter.com/PW5z1Z033E
— Nda-Nda man🚶 (@Jabulan1_) June 25, 2018
I’m glad Metro is finally doing something about those death traps called taxis that are on Louis Botha even if it means messing up my Monday morning. Case in point 👇🏾#TaxiStrike pic.twitter.com/fPIaMd8zLF
— Tshianeo (@Tshianeo_M) June 25, 2018
Traffic expert Rob Byrne said the most affected routes were Sandton, Midrand, Woodmead, Modderfontein, and Alexandra. (ANA/Solly Makganoto)