Nationwide strike will go ahead, says taxi body

A nationwide taxi industry strike will go ahead on Tuesday September 1 when the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system is implemented, the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) said on Friday.

Despite negotiations not yet being concluded, the City of Johannesburg was rigidly committed to putting the BRT on line on September 1, said Santaco secretary-general Philip Taaibosch.

“But even more frightfully, the city does this despite the flaws that exist in the business model of the BRT project ...,” said Taaibosch.

The government set up a National Joint Working Committee to deal with taxi operators’ issues after an outcry over BRT by the taxi industry.

The taxi industry believes the BRT will adversely affect its business and complains that it was not an active player in the planning stages of BRT.

At the time, President Jacob Zuma (in his then capacity as president of the African National Congress) instructed that all processes be put on hold.

“Santaco consistently expressed concern on government’s habits to renege on agreements,” Taaibosch said on Friday.

“The strike intends to realise the ‘put on hold’ processes as was initially announced by the state president,” he said.

“The nationwide strike is a necessity to express these challenges government has for some unknown reason applied to deliberately frustrate the processes agreed to.”

Taaibosch emphasised that the strike should not be interpreted as the taxi industry being opposed to change, but that it was core roleplayer denied consultation.

“This is just a war in business of protecting one’s interests,” he said.

Transport spokesperson Logan Maistry said the government was aware of the impending strike, but was committed to continuing talks with the industry over the weekend.

“It [the negotiations] are a top priority of government, right from the president to the minister of transport.”

When asked how the strike would affect commuters, he said: “As government we are committed to provide safe, efficient and affordable public transport to all South Africans.”—Sapa

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