The hashtag #Taxistrike has been seen trending on Twitter.
Mixed reactions poured in on the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) being deployed to alleviate traffic and manage the protests in Gauteng, after taxi operators were seen blocking roads on Monday morning.
Taxi operators in the province decided to embark on a shutdown in protest against the government’s R1,135-billion Covid-19 relief package for the taxi industry amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which has affected the country’s economy.
With the hashtag #Taxistrike trending on Twitter, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi also had his say in the matter, calling SANDF’s deployment as an “abuse of power”.
“We can’t celebrate the army being deployed on civilian protesters! There are absolutely no grounds whatsoever for the army to be dispersing the taxi strike. It is an abuse of power, whether you agree with the protest or not!” he said.
We can’t celebrate the army being deployed on civilian protesters! There are absolutely no grounds whatsoever for the army to be dispersing the #Taxistrike. It is an abuse of power, whether you agree with the protest or not!
— Mbuyiseni Ndlozi (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) June 22, 2020
Twitter users reacted to the SANDF being deployed in the protest.
— Truth is so stubborn. (@sphesiphephe) June 22, 2020
After all let give respect to The SANDF & SAPS for controlling the situation, giving taxi drivers 5 minutes to clear the road. This proves that we have capable men in uniform. Taxi bosses will not run this Country. Mbalula please put more buses on the road Sir#Taxistrike pic.twitter.com/OuOEJFZNQx
— Mfundoyakhe Shezi 🇿🇦 (@Mfundoyakhe_S) June 22, 2020
SANDF and SAPS very quick to ack when its harmless Black South Africans. A mean foreigners where fighting SAPS a few months back in Hillbrow, they were handled with soft gloves #Taxistrike
— Mmaneng (@Mamurudi) June 22, 2020
Some funny reactions from the platform’s users also weighed in on the matter.
— A K H O N A 🇿🇦 (@akhona_mgabile) June 22, 2020
— MANDLA-M 🇿🇦 (@MandlaMhlanga_) June 22, 2020
Speaking on the government’s relief package offer to the taxi industry, one Twitter user insinuated that the relief package was “unfair” to the taxi industry compared to the Gautrain’s package which reportedly received R1.6 billion rand.
“It’s interesting to note Gautrain which transports less than 150,000 people per day receives R1.6 billion in government subsidy from taxpayers while the taxi industry which transports 15 million people a day or 26% of SA’s population receives no government subsidy,” the user said.
It’s interesting to note Gautrain which transports less than 150 000 people per day receives R1,6 Billion in Government Subsidy from taxpayers while the Taxi Industry which transports 15 Million People a day or 26% of SA’s Population receives No Government Subsidy.
— Great Zulu👑 (@SuperiorZulu) June 21, 2020
It was reported shots have been fired by law enforcement in an attempt to enforce order as taxi operators downed tools on Monday.
Several operators have blocked roads since 4am on Monday morning. Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) confirmed a possible protest in Lenasia South as the roadway has been blocked with rocks including burning tyres. South African Police Service (SAPS) officers are on the scene.
In Mabopane, the SANDF has been in dispute with taxi operators after operators closed of the R80 Mabopane Highway from Shoshanguve direction. The R55 in Olievenhoutbosch, Centurion is also a no-go area due to protest action.
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