Transport minister condemns violent taxi protest

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pretoria - Transport Minister Jeff Radebe has condemned the violence perpetrated by Johannesburg taxi operators on Tuesday.

Taxi operators, protesting against government's Bus Rapid Transit System, blockaded roads, intimidated motorists and forced commuters off buses.

He said that while the department acknowledges the constitutional right of every citizen to express their concerns freely, lawlessness will not be condoned under any circumstances.

Minister Radebe has discussed the violent protests with Safety and Security Minister, Nathi Mthethwa and investigations on the protests are underway. "Those who will be found guilty of contravening the law will face the full might of the law," he said.

As a result of the strike, thousands of commuters were stranded and unable to get to work.

The city centre, where operators marched from Mary Fitzgerald Square to the Department of Public Transport, Roads and Works to hand over a memorandum, was brought to a standstill.

Johannesburg Metropolitan Police spokesperson Edna Mamonyane told BuaNews they had arrested taxi drivers on charged of intimidation and vandalism. "Some of them were arrested for removing number plates on their vehicles."

She said the situation was calm on Wednesday morning and that no incidences of violence were reported.