Western Cape minibus taxi drivers on strike
Minibus taxi drivers affiliated with the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) have embarked on an indefinite strike and related protests in the Western Cape Province since yesterday, 3 August.
They are protesting against the impoundment of minibus taxis for traffic violations following the collapse of negotiations with the provincial government. Tensions resumed beginning of this month when taxi operators staged a spontaneous protest in Cape Town’s CBD, during which drivers clashed with the police.
Santaco Western Cape chairperson Mandla Hermanus said it was better for their vehicles to be pulled out of all the ranks in the province than be impounded by officials.
“Santaco has resolved that our vehicles should be pulled from all the ranks wherever they are in the province this afternoon and be parked at homes until the 9th,” he said.
The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry deputy president Derryn Brigg said in recent years the industry was caught in a storm of rising costs, particularly fuel and vehicle financing, and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The sector also did not enjoy subsidies afforded to bus companies.
Discussions between the chamber and Santaco had revealed an increase in the number of taxi impoundments had crippled some operators “with 488 taxis repossessed by financial institutions over the past year alone”.
“A further 300 are due to be repossessed as the sector buckles under the economic climate, according to Santaco.
Throughout the stay-away period, the municipality has ensured that it will carefully observe pathways and authorities will carry out routine inspections for the purpose of ensuring the well-being and protection of travellers and the general public.
Individuals who depend on the minibus-taxi sector for their daily commute are recommended to organise alternative transportation or establish plans for remote work whenever feasible in the upcoming six-day period.