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Minibus drivers strike over coronavirus funding

Taxis block busy roads, confront police and soldiers.
Image: Moneyweb

Drivers of minibus taxis in South Africa’s financial hub Gauteng went on strike on Monday to demand more financial support from government, leaving thousands of commuters stranded.

Dozens of taxis blocked busy roads in Johannesburg and Pretoria, confronting police and soldiers.

The SA National Defence Force posted the following tweets showing their interaction with drivers:

Many people were stuck at taxi ranks, while others walked to work or piled onto buses.

Since a coronavirus shutdown began in late March, taxis have been permitted to operate at only 70% capacity under strict social distancing measures, a difficult situation as the industry depends on maximum passenger loads at low prices.

The loss of income from smaller loads and lower volumes due the shutdown, which saw most workplaces completely closed, has caused unhappiness in the industry, with operators threatening price increases of more 100% in some areas to cover losses.

Santaco, ‘the principal mouthpiece of all taxis in South Africa’ was vocal on Twitter about taxi drivers’ demands, while condemning blockades and intimidation associated with the strike.

The lockdown has been gradually eased and most of the workforce are now allowed to go to work.

On Friday, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced a R1.1 billion one-off payment to registered taxi operators, amounting to about R5 000 per driver. He said this was not compensation for loss of revenue due to coronavirus restrictions but rather assistance from the government.

He updated the media on Monday, from Soshanguve:

Taxi operators rejected the relief and the conditions linked to government’s plan to formalise the industry.

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When “Fee’s must fall” they burn their own universities.

The ANC kleptocracy continues to strangle the middle class citizen and honest business person, whilst endlessly pandering to various criminal mafias – in this case the violent taxi mafia – although the other day it was the casino mafia, and before that it was the illegal cigarette mafia.

It’s sad to see the ANC in the final stages of textbook post-revolutionary collapse.

The lesson here – we’re not an exceptional country, and its never different this time.

South Africa’s paramilitary forces finally have a chance to do something positive for the country, to protect its citizens against real criminals – an organized, violent force, deliberately disrupting a country trying desperately to get back on its feet, by blocking roads and threatening innocent people – and what do they do? Nothing.

Much easier to throw unarmed, nonviolent people in jail, or beat them, or kill them, for walking on a beach, or smoking a cigarette, or drinking a beer.

Well done to the South African government, and their loose cannon, Bheki Cele.

End of comments.

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