/ 28 August 2009

Strike still on, says SA taxi council

The taxi strike against the launch of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system is still on, said the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) on Friday.

Spokesperson Philip Taaibosch said any changes about the planned strike for next Tuesday would be announced after the council’s meeting with the Department of Transport following its court hearing to have the BRT launch set aside.

”We are currently on our way to court for the hearing of our application to interdict the launch of BRT and we will also meet with the Department of Transport after that,” Taaibosch said.

Taaibosch was responding to Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele’s earlier utterances on Friday that the strike had been called off.

”The strike action is going to be off,” Ndebele told SABC radio.

”We are meeting now, around about 10am, all of us … where we are going to work out and come out with a declaration of commitment — that is the department of transport and all government institutions — together with the taxi industry.”

Referring to a bid by taxi bodies to bring an urgent court application against the BRT system, Ndebele said the plan was to withdraw the application when the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria opened on Friday.

”We are going to deal with the court action when the courts open this morning [Friday] and get that withdrawn and replaced by a common commitment,” said Ndebele.

”Anything we do, must not affect an ordinary commuter.”

Santaco last week announced strike action to protest against the new, more streamlined bus service that is set to start operating next week. But taxi operators believe the BRT system will steal lucrative business from the taxi industry.

The government has set up a National Joint Working Committee to deal with their concerns.

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane has repeatedly warned that the government would not tolerate any disruptive behaviour by taxi drivers and operators. — Sapa