Taximen refuse to join national bus strike

Bay commuters can breathe a sigh of relief

Taxis in Nelson Mandela Bay. File picture
Taxis in Nelson Mandela Bay. File picture
Image: Werner Hills

Nelson Mandela Bay commuters can breathe a sigh of relief – there will be no national public transport blackout.

National and local taxi associations have rejected a call by the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Safta) to join in on the on-going bus strike for a complete shutdown of public transport next week.

Bus drivers nationwide have been on strike for more than two weeks in a bruising battle for higher pay.

As a result, skirmishes have broken out at taxi ranks as desperate commuters scramble to get to work or school on time.

While Integrated Public Transport Systems bus drivers are not part of the strike, the service has been put on ice until the strike is over.

“We know that commuters are under a lot of severe pressure because of the buses [not operating], so we can’t also be going on strike,” said Algoa Taxi Association spokesman, Kevin van Aswegen.

“Under no circumstances are we striking [because] that’ll cripple the economy, so we told them [Saftu] ‘no’.”

The National Taxi Alliance (NTA) also showed Saftu the door.

“Their call is disingenuous,” said NTA spokesman Theo Malele.

“We are not a rent-a-crowd. They must go look elsewhere.”

The South African National Taxi Council said they had not been invited to join the bus strike.

The bus driver unions have meanwhile vowed to not back down on their demands.

Dane Du Plessis, manager at El Nino’s pizza in Walmer, said the bus strike had affected the business.

“It helps to have private transport because then we know our staff are going to be at work on time and that they arrive home safely.”

The unions on strike have promised further mass action at venues across the country that are still be announced.