Grahamstown taxis join province-wide strike

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Many commuters walked or shared lifts to work this morning, with neither of the main taxi associations operating in Grahamstown (Makhanda) this morning. And the Post Office confirmed this morning that social grant payments scheduled for today have been postponed to Thursday 20 September 2018.

The three main ranks in Grahamstown (Makhanda) were empty this morning, as taxis remained parked in their owners’ yards. The pavements were busy with pedestrians taking the long walk to town for school and work. Both Uncedo and BATA taxi associations withheld services this morning.

The police reported no incidents in Grahamstown (Makhanda), or in Ndlambe. In Port Alfred the taxi ranks were empty, although taxis on the R67 and R72 were operating as normal. Provincial Police Spokesperson Colonel Sibongile Soci said the roads there appeared clear and open.

Taxis blockaded the N2 at Peddie this morning and burnt tyres. Photo: SAPS

However, taxis from Uncedo Taxi Association blockading the N2 at Peddie began their protest by burning tyres, and continued to prevent motorists from entering or exiting Peddie.

Soci said police were negotiating with the association to re-open the road.

Meanwhile, the Post Office confirmed cash payment of Sassa grants scheduled for today (19 September) in the Eastern Cape had been postponed to tomorrow 20 September 2018, as a result of the province-wide taxi strike.

“A total of 19 cash paypoints scheduled for today will now be serviced tomorrow,” said Nombulelo Ngubane, regional manager for the SA Post Office in the Eastern Cape. Ngubane said a few isolated  post office branches in the province might also be unable to trade today as a result of the strike.  The branches that are affected will be posted on the Post Office’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.  The Twitter handle is @postofficesa

In other parts of the province this morning, information from SAPS earlier this morning was:
  • Mthatha is reporting quiet. All four routes entering town and the CBD are being patrolled. Taxis are operating as usual.
  • King William’s Town – A protest march will gather at Victoria Grounds in KWT at 9am proceeding to the stadium. Road Closures will be affected from 08H00 around the stadium.
    Buffalo Road and Cathcart Road. Buffalo Road and Alyff Road. Alexandria Road and Wodehouse Road intersection will be closed near Calatha House. Traffic will be diverted along Cambridge Road and Cathcart Road as well as Maitland Road. Issued by the BCMM Communications
  • Port ELizabeth: Gelvandale is quiet. In Bethelsdorp – Bloemendal and Chatty blocked off with burning tyres and Algoa Park near the Vista University on the Uitenhage road, taxis blocked off the road and Pondo Road near Kenako Mall is blocked off with burning tyres. Police in attendance.
  • Motherwell: Uitenhage road burning tyres and stone throwing.  [Later] – Uitenhage road opened again and traffic flowing normal.
  • Cofimvaba: blockage at Ngcobo near Nyanga and Cofimvaba junction
  • Aliwal North: Taxis gathered and moving along N6 toward Jamestown:
    R58 towards Burgersdorp from Aliwal North Blocked.
    R58 at Burgersdorp Closed.
    Entrance to Maletswai blocked.
    Hertzog Bridge closed
    R58 to Lady Grey blocked
  • Port St Johns: R61 road blocked by taxis
  • Cradock: Adelaide is blocked by taxis, and tyres are being burnt

RUNNING UPDATES BELOW

  • Mdantsane – 11.43AM: Police used rubber bullets to disperse a group of taxi drivers driving in different vehicles on Qumza Road burning tyres near NU 6 Mall, carrying pangas and other sharp weapons.
  • Peddie – 1pm: Road now opened at Peddie after members of Taxi Association were warned by police that their vehicles would be towed away and they be arrested.Traffic flowing freely now,area now calm.
  • General – 1pm: Many situations normalised in varous areas across the province.
  • Grahamstown (Makhanda) – 1pm: Police say the situation remains the same with no taxis operating and no incidents reported, “although the taxi association members are aware that the strike has been called off”.
  •  Peddie – 1pm: the N2 road is now open and the taxis have dispersed. The taxis are starting to pick up passengers at the taxi ranks and are operating normally.
  • King William’s Town – 1pm: Preliminary feedback from taxi operators who went to Calata House in King William’s town is that Santaco Taxi Association has given the MEC seven days to respond to their demands.
  • Motherwell 1.30pm – quiet
  • Cradock 1.30pm – Roads have been cleared at Bedford, Adelaide and Cradock. No serious incidents and all roads are open.
  • Port St Johns 1.30pm – R61 is open and Lusikisiki is open. Police are still monitoring.
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