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26 Aug 2009 15:10
The Gauteng African National Congress (ANC), Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and South African Communist Party (SACP) on Wednesday criticised the taxi industry’s threatened strike in a bid to halt the launch of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.
“The leadership of the taxi industry is attempting to hold our democratically elected government, and consequently ordinary commuters, to ransom,” members of the alliance said at a joint media briefing in Alberton, south of Johannesburg.
“The ANC, Cosatu and SACP alliance would like to make it categorically clear that the intended strike by the taxi industry does not have our support.”
ANC secretary in Gauteng David Makhura said the alliance in the province put its full weight behind the BRT system, set to launch on September 1 in Johannesburg.
BRT was part of an approach to do away with apartheid spatial planning and would provide an “integrated, efficient, affordable, reliable and safe public transport system”.
The alliance acknowledged the right of citizens to protest peacefully but called on the taxi industry to respect the rights of citizens who support the BRT system.
“We also call on the government to ensure that law-enforcement agencies protect ordinary citizens on the day of the strike.
‘If they want to rule, they must register as a political party’
Meanwhile, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane has warned taxi operators not to disrupt the launch of the BRT system, the Star reported on Wednesday.
“The taxi industry can’t be a law unto themselves,” Mokonyane said during a visit to the Johannesburg Central police station on Tuesday.
“BRT is about the government facilitating an opportunity for all South Africans.
“We’re going to be tough and can’t be held to ransom by the taxi industry.
“If they want to rule this country, they must register as a political party and contest in the elections.”
Mokonyane said if taxi operators wanted to protest next week, they should not break the law.
“If it is a stayaway, then they must stay home and not disrupt traffic on our roads.”
The South African National Taxi Council announced last week that a nationwide taxi strike would start on Monday.
The taxi industry has said the BRT, an improved bus service, would adversely affect its business and had complained it was not an active player in the planning stages of BRT.—Sapa
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