gauteng taxi strike

Photo: Screenshot / Twitter

Taxi strike: Police open fire on protesters [video]

Gun shots rang out during Monday’s taxi strike, as police attempted to control the situation.

gauteng taxi strike

Photo: Screenshot / Twitter

Police fired rubber bullets at protesters during Monday’s taxi strike in Tshwane.

Many commuters around the area had to seek alternative modes of transports, with South Africa National Taxi Council (Santaco) embarking on a total shutdown of services.

Taxi strike turns violent 

As is almost always the case during a taxi strike in South Africa, roads were blockaded by minibuses, as the protestors did their best to make their grievances felt by as many road users as possible.

Assisting the police in calming the situation were members of the South African National Defense Force, who helped clear the cars blocking the roads.

Things escalated around noon, when police saw fit to use rubber bullets to disperse a group of protesters who, in a video shared widely on social media, appeared to be doing nothing more than singing and chanting.

Watch police open fire on protesters here: 

Why has Santaco taken to the streets?

The taxi industry was offered a relief plan of around R1bn after the sector had taken a significant knock brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was announced on Friday by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, who said reaching the settlement had taken some extensive lobbying.

However, the amount has been rejected by Santaco. The association responded by calling a meeting ahead of Monday’s shutdown which it says had long been agreed upon.

Calls for Mbalula’s head

Following the police action during the protests, some taxi drivers have called on the Transport Minister to be sacked.

On Monday afternoon, Mbalula was at the scene of one of the protests, where he said the shutdown was “counterproductive”.

“If we were to calculate the loss that the taxi industry has incurred as a result of the lockdown, it goes into billions of rands,” he said, speaking from Soshanguve. “Whether or not the money is too little, I cannot say it is enough. It is a relief (fund).”

Fikile Mbalula, Minister of Transport