South Africa 2.7.2018 06:35 pm

Mysterious transport shutdown ‘planned’ against petrol price on Tuesday

Tshwane taxi drivers went on strike in November last year, targeting Uber, Taxify and Zebra taxicab drivers. A propose nationwide transport shutdown will attempt to get all drivers to unite. Picture: Gallo Images

Tshwane taxi drivers went on strike in November last year, targeting Uber, Taxify and Zebra taxicab drivers. A propose nationwide transport shutdown will attempt to get all drivers to unite. Picture: Gallo Images

Unidentified forces are behind a proposed protest that will attempt to get all Uber, Taxify, bus and minibus taxi drivers off the roads.

A Taxify driver who asked not to be named has confirmed that he has received messages warning him and all other drivers to stay at home tomorrow for a massive strike that also sees Uber drivers, bus drivers and minibus taxi drivers urged not to work.

The driver sent The Citizen a copy of a threatening letter that is being sent to drivers of the popular ehailing apps, warning them not to go online tomorrow.

A message that is being circulated to Uber and Taxify drivers. Picture: Screenshot.

“Good day comrades. This is to inform you that on the 3rd July we (are) having a national protest / shutdown … we are pleading with all ehailing drivers to go OFFLINE on 3rd July from 00:00am (sic) … we will be patrolling all over targeting eHailing ranks / spots (sic) … for those who will be ONLINE … don’t put your life in danger this day …”, the message said.

“The meeting point will be at Zoo lake 6:00 am till further notice … All drivers to inform their partners about the shutdown on the 3rd … and all drivers should have written posters regarding the shutdown”, the WhatsApp message, which is signed by Group Task Team (GTT), continued.

The message also claimed no cars will be working on Tuesday, warning those drivers who do choose to work that “no one will be accountable for your loss and your safety is not guaranteed”.

The Citizen has no information regarding who GTT is, and cannot confirm which unions if any are involved in the strike, or who is pulling the strings behind it.

Sources have also spoken of emails circulating that urge all motorists to stay off the road on Tuesday in protest. Whether individuals who own cars will join in on the shutdown remains to be seen.

READ MORE: Further petrol price hike will hit hard

The driver interviewed confirmed that he would not be taking any chances by operating tomorrow and would be off-line for the shutdown.

But Natasha Marot at Tribeca Public Relations, who count Taxify among their clients, said that official word from the company is that their drivers will be on the road on Tuesday.

According to Marot, Taxify “will be operational tomorrow. Even if some of the drivers don’t operate, there (will be) enough to ensure that you will get a trip.”

Marot continued that Taxify has “been in communication with the drivers using the Taxify platform, and have received good responses from them”.

This, however, conflicts with an SMS sent to us by the Taxify driver who shared the initial WhatsApp post with us, in which the sender, which appears to be Taxify, says that their offices will be closed tomorrow.

A source close to Uber who asked not be named said she’s aware of emails circulating warning of a nationwide transport shutdown but says she is unable to herself comment on whether the nationwide shutdown is truth or rumour based on these emails.

An official statement from Uber sent to us when asked for comment on the shutdown failed to address the situation directly, instead giving some generic information on company policy.

The Citizen is attempting to get more clarity on the proposed shutdown and to find out who is behind it. We hope to offer our readers an update soon.

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