Minister of Transport Joe Maswanganyi on Thursday condemned the blocking of major roads in Gauteng by taxi operators which has caused widespread havoc.
Large areas of Johannesburg, Midrand and Pretoria were no-go areas on Thursday after taxis aligned to South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) blockaded major routes, even resorting to hijacking large trucks to help block off roads.
The Tshwane municipality was also forced to suspend its Tshwane Bus Service after several were stoned, while the Gauteng education department sent out an alert to parents to try and keep pupils at home for the day due to the chaos.
In a statement, Maswanganyi condemned “the violence that has characterised this demonstration”.
“While it is everybody’s constitutional right to demonstrate, this has to be done within the ambits of the law,” the statement said.
“The Department is also aware of the challenges faced by the taxi industry with regards to the affordability of financing their taxi vehicles. We sympathise with the taxi industry in this regard. It must, however, be emphasised that it is a matter between the industry and the South African taxi finance [company].
“We have also been informed that the parties have since reached an agreement and as such we, therefore, call upon Santaco members to clear the roads so that the traffic flow can return to normal.
“We also want to apologise to commuters who are affected and encourage them to use other modes of public transport such as buses and trains.”