Taxi­men refuse to join na­tional bus strike

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - NEWS - Siyabonga Se­sant and Nom­ahlubi Jor­daan sesants@ti­soblack­

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.

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