Nelson Mandela Bay taxi strike to continue on Thursday

NO GO: Taxis block the R75 on Wednesday morning next to Missionvale
Image: EUGENE COETZEE

Taxi drivers will continue to strike in Nelson Mandela Bay on Thursday while talks with drivers continue.

However, Bay regional taxi council general secretary Andile Andries said the strike would likely end during the course of the day on Thursday.

“It is not over. People need to be careful. The strike is still on. Rather be safe,” he warned.

Andries said he was hopeful it would all come to an end on Thursday.

The forced road closures continued unabated on Wednesday, leaving many Bay residents in the lurch as the ongoing taxi strike flared up again from as early as 6am.

Mayor Nqaba Bhanga and roads and transport political head Rano Kayser also met taxi drivers on Wednesday.

Bhanga said it was decided that the talks would resume at 10am on Thursday.

“The meeting resolved that the strike would continue while talks were happening, but it would not result in the closure of roads.”

He said the police, metro police and traffic officials would be on high alert in case of road closures or violence.

“I wish to emphasise that there is no place for the violence and destruction we have witnessed over the last two days.

“The metro will continue to facilitate a peaceful process of engagement to resolve the issues and return to normal.”

Uncedo chair Diki Zamani referred all questions to Eastern Cape Transport Tertiary Co-operative chief executive Nokuthula Mbebe, who did not respond to several requests for comment.

The infighting between drivers and taxi owners, over Covid-19 Ters payments, had spilt over into the streets on Tuesday — and just as those reliant on the public transport system thought there was an end to the mayhem, it ignited again on Wednesday.

The payment disputes are between drivers and taxi owners linked to the Uncedo Service Taxi Association.

Several fast food outlets remained closed on Wednesday, with grocery shops asking customers to be patient due to staff shortages.

Other businesses used Facebook to let customers know they would either be closed or operate with limited staff.

The Algoa Bus Company suspended all services pending an end to the wildcat strike.

BY MICHAEL KIMBERLEY

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