Things have taken a turn for the worse on Wednesday, after an anarchic taxi strike blocked major highways and prevented a number of students from arriving at their matric exams. However, the situation spiralled out of control completely when one person – allegedly involved in the protests – hijacked a commuter bus belonging to the City of Tshwane.
Bus hijacked in Tshwane
The Tshwane Bus Service issued a statement on the matter earlier this morning, confirming that a female driver was targeted near Orchards – in the north of Pretoria. The vehicle has since been located, and the employee was not harmed:
“At our meeting with the taxi industry yesterday they indicated that the protest would start at 10:00 and that it would be peaceful, hence we allowed our buses to operate early this morning and we were going to withdraw them just before the protest got underway. One of our buses has since been hijacked”
“Our drivers have been warned to not operate in the Orchards area. We have also received reports of some blockages in various parts of the city, including along Solomon Mahlangu Road, in the east of the City. With this, we have to recall all our buses to the depot.”
Tshwane Bus Service
Passenger notice : Please be informed that one of our bus has been highjacked by taxi drivers with the lady driver while on other routes passengers are kicked and forced out of the buses. With this we have to recall all our buses to the depot. @TMPDSafety @Selbybok
— Tshwane Bus Service (@Tshwanebus2) November 18, 2020
Watch: The moment a bus was ‘hijacked’ during the taxi strike
Physically kicking us off Tshwane bus, when buses are on strike taxis operate as normal no one disrupts them kodwa bona manje @Tshwanebus2 @MbalulaFikile #Nationaltaxistrike can we please be protected, or should we accept that taxis govern themselves pic.twitter.com/QSw3TTXF3r
— Wandile Masango (@WandileMasango2) November 18, 2020
- Meanwhile, the traffic disruption in the metro was off the scale on Wednesday morning
— Yusuf Abramjee (@Abramjee) November 18, 2020
Taxi strike updates on Wednesday 18 November
The National Taxi Alliance (NTA) plan to march to Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s office and the Presidency in Tshwane at the Union Buildings. They will be issuing a memorandum of demands, which include fast-tracking the payout of the COVID-19 relief fund. The industry is still recovering from the economic burden spurred by the lockdown.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced earlier this year that R1.8 billion had been availed for the industry, to help it navigate the global pandemic. This offer, however, has been rejected by several associations, leading to this taxi strike.