Taxi Drivers divided in demand for RDP houses
The Emalahleni N4 freeway was on Monday closed by a group of Witbank Taxi drivers demanding RDP houses at the Siyanqoba Klarnet settlement. As is a norm in taxi powered strikes no taxis were allowed to transport people, not even scholars who at times form an exception, this meant that learners could not attend class. The strike also affected the general public and the working class who use taxis transport to go about their daily errands. The strike was however tainted by factions within the taxi driver’s movement as violent attacks were reported in cases where some taxi drivers where manhandled and battered by their counterparts following cases where they were found in breach of the strike code such as up the transporting passengers?
The strike was followed by a meeting at Klipfontein Police Station which was attended by the Emalahleni Local Municipality Executive Mayor Cllr Linah Malatjie, Cllr Thabang Mathebula MMC of Environmental Waste Management, the acting Emalahleni MM Mduduzi Mgomezulu, taxi drivers, the Chief Whip Connie Mkalintjali and Solly Vilane chairperson of taxi drivers.
The main concern which led to the strike was that there is a list of taxi driver’s names regarding the RDP houses at Siyanqoba Klarnet that was submitted to the former Executive Mayor Lindiwe Ntshalintshali. The taxi drivers feel that the list is not being taken into consideration as none of them have been awarded any RDP houses till today. The taxi drivers then at the appointment of a new Executive Mayor again compiled and sent a second list of names registered for RDP houses. The outcry is that this list will become obsolete like the first one, this then led the taxi drivers to be take to the street in protest.
The Emalahleni Executive Mayor Linah Malatjie addressed the meeting at the Police Station stating that “as the Mayor of Emalahleni Local Municipality it is in my obligation to fulfil the demands and needs of my community”, the Mayor then addressed the Taxi Association chairperson Solly requesting that a new exhaustive list to be resubmitted, the plea was for accuracy of the document. The Mayor then added that the list would be discussed with the ward councillors for verification of the final process of applying for RDP houses.” And the meeting was ended and thus the road blockade and the demonstration.