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Taxi operators strike over e-tolls, drivers assaulted

Hundreds of local commuters who use taxis to work were left stranded on Monday morning, when taxi operators took to the streets to protests against e-tolls.

Local taxi operators joined others, who gathered in Marabastad, Pretoria, in the morning, before handing a memorandum containing a plethora of grievances to the office of transport minister Dipuo Peters.

Benoni Taxi Association (BTA) public relations officer Davhedzi Michael Rambau said government promised that taxi operators would be exempt from paying e-tolls, but members keep receiving bills and messages urging them to pay.

Among other grievances, Rambau said they need to be subsidised, like buses and other modes of public transport.

Operators also have problems with the way the taxi recapitalisation programme and permits and operating licences are being handled by government.

Rambau said they gave government 21 days to respond.

He expected taxis to start operating smoothly on February 4.

On February 3, local non-striking taxi operators faced the wrath of the striking ones.

Two incident of taxi related violence were reported.

Crystal Park police acting spokesperson Tryna Maritz said a taxi driver travelling along Elm Road towards the R21 direction was assaulted and by other taxi drivers who also damaged his taxi and took R200 from him.

He was accused of not taking part in the strike and his explanation that he was a long distance taxi driver was not accepted.

The incident occurred at around 3pm.

Police were called to the scene and a case of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm was opened.

In another incident, a taxi driver travelling along Peenz Road in Zesfontein was stopped and his taxi damaged quite badly after being accused of not taking part in the strike.

“He escaped without injuries and a case of malicious damage to property was opened, said Maritz.

No arrests were made in both incidents.

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