Toyota faces blockade in Durban as taxi drivers protest Quantum prices

Taxis blockade the area around the Toyota factory, at Prospecton, south of Durban, as they protest over Quantum price increases
Picture: Supplied

A critically injured accident victim had to be airlifted to a Durban hospital after a city-wide taxi blockade caused gridlock traffic conditions on major routes on Wednesday morning.

Crisis Medical spokesperson Kyle van Reenen said that the accident‚ on the N2 near Umdloti north of Durban‚ saw three people badly injured.

“A Nissan 1400 bakkie collided at high speed into the rear of a heavy goods vehicle‚ leaving three occupants of the bakkie entrapped in the twisted wreckage‚” he said.

One man was in a critical condition and had to be airlifted.

“Traffic was severely affected in the area as the roadway remained closed to allow emergency services to clear the scene‚” he said.

Van Reenen said that the strike and associated road closures informed the decision to airlift the injured man.

Hundreds of commuters in Isipingo‚ south of Durban‚ were unable to make their way to work as dozens of taxis blocked exit and entrance routes early on Wednesday.

By 5am several taxis had blockaded Joyner Road near a Toyota vehicle manufacturing factory.

The South African Taxi Association announced on Tuesday that it would embark on a “peaceful‚ organised and approved strike” in the Prospecton industrial area‚ targeting the factory.

According to a statement issued by Santaco‚ the strike action is to protest against a hike in the cost of the Toyota Quantum‚ introduced 10 years ago at a fully imported price of R220 000.

Now‚ however‚ the locally produced model costs R450 000 before interest. This‚ they say‚ is crippling the industry.

Security companies reported that demonstrators were allegedly burning tyres on the N2 North and South at the Isipingo off ramps.

There were reports of rocks and debris on the roads.

Some employees who worked the night shift were reportedly unable to leave the factory.

In a memorandum to staff on Tuesday‚ Human Resources alerted employees to the strike action advising them not to panic.

– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE

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