A meeting between the taxi bosses, the provincial department of transport and Ethekwini Municipality officials is currently underway at Coastlands Hotel in Durban to iron out the concerns of taxi operators in KwaZulu-Natal in an attempt to end the ongoing strike.
There is strong police presence in and around the city monitoring the situation. Police have also been deployed on the route leading to the venue where the meeting is taking place after a group of taxi drivers are threatening to disrupt the meeting.
Meanwhile, the transportation of commuters was at a standstill as the taxi strike turned violent.
Buses were stoned and forced to suspend operations as a group of taxi operators went on a rampage around the city centre threatening commuters with violence.
Police had to use teargas to disperse the crowd. People walking pass had to run for cover and few taxi drivers who tried to load passengers at Chesterville taxi rank were assaulted and were called ‘rats’ and sellouts.
The strike follows the impounding of about 30 minibus taxis at the weekend in Mandini for operating without permits.
The taxi operators have accused Transport MEC Willies Mchunu for going against his promise that no taxi would be impounded until each and every operator was issued with an operating permit.
Mchunu in a statement yesterday rejected claims made by taxi operators. He said after a taxi strike last year, his office opened more centers in Pietermaritzburg, Empangeni and other areas to assist in addressing the backlog.
Frustrated taxi commuters were left stranded and had to make other transport arrangements to get to work. Commuters blamed taxi operators for not alerting them about the strike.
The taxi operators say they will not end the strike until all impounded vehicles are released.
The South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) was not immediately available to comment as they were locked in meetings.