South Africa: Taxi Industry Snubs Malema’s Shutdown

The South African taxi industry has rejected Julius Malema’s charm offensive.

The SA National Taxi Council has confirmed it will not be joining the EFF nationwide protest against load shedding and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government.

The industry of over 250,000 minibus taxis transports an estimated 15 million commuters a day.

A complete shutdown would cost the R60 billion industry over R150 million a day.

On Wednesday night Santaco said its meeting with the leadership of the EFF did not mean they were supporting the protest.

In the past, Santaco has refused to take sides in South Africa’s politics.

Santaco’s rejection of the EFF plans will be seen as a major blow to the so-called national shutdown and protesters will not be able to block the main highways on 20 March.

EFF leader Julius Malema said they know the taxi industry is apolitical and did not expect it to join the protest.

He said they sought to meet Santaco’s top leadership because they did not want a confrontation with the taxi industry.

“What do we want from Santaco? Nothing,” he said.

“It’s a courtesy meeting to say there will be protesters on the roads and the taxis should take that into consideration.”

Continuing to play down the snub, he said: “There shouldn’t be unnecessary confrontations between ourselves and the taxis because we all belong to the same class.”

Several taxi associations in the country which spoke to Scrolla.Africa distanced themselves from the Monday shutdown.

The Greater Alberton Taxi Association spokesperson Emmanuel Maleka said the association and its members will not be part of the shutdown. “What are we going to achieve after the shutdown? We’ll still be in the dark with load shedding,” he said.

Another Association in Mpumalanga takes a similar view and released a statement that it will not take part in the protest on Monday.

Taxi drivers who spoke to Scrolla.Africa said the industry lost a lot of money during the Covid-19 lockdown regulations and many businesses were forced to close. They say having a shutdown is another setback for the economy.

“As a country we need to engage in progressive economic topics and not issues that will bring the economy to a standstill,” said one member of the Alexandra Taxi Association who didn’t want to be named.


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