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?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Taxistrike. It is an abuse of power, whether you agree with the protest or not!
— Mbuyiseni Ndlozi (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) June 22, 2020
— Tshepiso Moche (@tshepimoche) June 22, 2020
— A K H O N A 🇿🇦 (@akhona_mgabile) June 22, 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.