Large areas of Gauteng were inaccessible this morning as the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) embarked on protest action against the R1.135-billion taxi relief plan that government has proposed to compensate for revenue lost under Covid-19 lockdown regulations.
The R5000 per taxi that the proposed relief package will amount to, Santaco has said, is not enough.
But Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has stated that the government simply cannot afford the industry’s demand of R20 000 per taxi.
This morning the stalemate resulted in taxis and burning tyres blocking off and barricading several roads.
The transport industry, however, had been relatively unaffected by lack of access to main roads such as the R28, R55 and R500, said Gavin Kelly, CEO of the Road Freight Association (RFA).
“Early this morning there was no indication from industry about disruption to services. From what we heard trucks were simply bypassing these roads,” he said.
Kelly added that the RFA had also not heard of any attacks on trucks or of transport drivers getting stopped.
The Federation of East and Southern African Road Transport Associations (Fesarta) meanwhile told transporters from early on that access in Soshanguve, Ga-Rankuwa, Olievenhoutbos and Tembisa was blocked.
Certain roads to Pretoria and Magaliesburg were also inaccessible.
The road past Atteridgeville and Laudium, Fesarta said, had been completely closed.
The association added that the R28 and all other main roads out of Krugersdorp, Randfontein and Westonaria had been blocked off by taxis. “They are preventing motorists from entering these areas.”
This included the R500 leading into Carletonville and Fochville.
Elsewhere though taxis from Vereeniging and Vanderbijlpark were actually seen ferrying mine workers to Goldfields’ South Deep Mine.
In another update Fesarta said: “Both the R55/M26 intersection at the Erasmia robot and R55/Military Road intersections are currently being blocked off by striking protesters.
“Vehicles are being used to block roads with burning tyres and debris.”
Commuters and transporters were advised to exercise extreme caution and avoid the area if possible.