Most parts of the city came to a complete standstill following a city wide taxi strike yesterday, Wednesday, 31 May 2017.
In what was planned as a ‘peaceful’ protest, caused complete traffic chaos on the N2, N3, R102, Umbilo, Jan Smuts Highway, Brickfield Road and Durban CBD. The N2 north and south bound lanes were blocked with burning tyres, tree branches, rocks and debris.
There were reports of tear gas and rubber bullets being deployed in the Westville area.
The South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) grouped together to boycott the exorbitant prices of Toyota Quantums which are primarily used in the industry. Prices are said to have shot up from a previous R220 000 to a whopping R450 000, at a 28% interest rate, which SANTACO is claiming is far too expensive. A memorandum was sent to Toyota’s main plant in Prospecton, where taxis planned to congregate. The memorandum included a detailed schedule of where and when protestors would appear. Protestors were expected to park their taxis and congregate on the sports field on Avenue East and march to the entrance of Toyota and peacefully protest and disperse by 11.30am. Emergency services, including Metro Police and SAPS were in attendance, closely monitoring the situation. SAPS spokesperson, Lt Colonel Zwane said, “The taxis blocked the roads along N2 near Prospecton and surrounding areas. They also blocked West Street and Warwick Avenue. Police are monitoring the situation. Motorists are to use other alternative routes.”
Metro spokesperson, Superintendent Sibonelo Mchunu confirmed, “Taxis have blocked most parts of Durban, however our members are attending to the blockages. No injuries or cases of violence have been reported. As far as we are aware, the strike has been planned for one day only and is not expected to continue to Thursday.”
By Wednesday afternoon the strike was called off after a meeting was convened between leadership from The Taxi Association and Toyota. A memorandum was handed over to Toyota and they have been given seven days to respond.