Hundreds of commuters were left scrambling to find alternate means of transport on Wednesday after taxi drivers in Pretoria and Johannesburg embarked on protest action over the Bus Rapid Transport system, operating licences, the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme, and public transport subsidies. By BHEKI C SIMELANE and PUSELETSO NTHATE.
Several roads around Johannesburg and Pretoria were gridlocked on Wednesday after protesting taxi drivers blockaded sections of them with burning tyres and in at least one incident, a truck.
Initially it was expected that the taxi strike would only affect Pretoria. However, commuters from Soweto were left in the lurch as taxis remained parked in the taxi ranks.
Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) spokesperson, Wayne Minnaar said the N1 and N3 roads were affected in the early hours of the morning and commuters could expect similar traffic jams on Wednesday afternoon.
In Tshwane a police officer, who had attempted to talk to the drivers, was assaulted by two taxi drivers, police spokesperson Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said.
In a separate incident, in Sinoville one taxi driver drove towards traffic and collided with three cars. "Four people were injured and he has been arrested. He will be charged with reckless driving," said Dlamini.