A Limpopo taxi driver was yesterday severely assaulted by other angry taxi drivers for going on duty while his colleagues were on strike.
Driver Majipa Monareng of Namakgale in Phalaborwa was assaulted after hitting another driver with his taxi when angry drivers tried to stop him from transporting commuters from Namakgale to Phalaborwa.
The drama allegedly unfolded about 500metres from a police station.
Monareng had gone to work in the early hours of yesterday morning. Taxi operators and drivers, who have been on strike for some time, had allegedly sent letters to every driver to down tools. Monareng had allegedly ignored the letter and went to work.
A group of taxi drivers stopped Monareng and demanded that he off-load passengers and join them, but he refused and told the protesters to "go to hell".
The protesters forced him out of the taxi and beat him up. Police who were escorting the marchers tried in vain to help him. Monareng was rescued by a group of senior association members.
The matter was reported to the Namakgale police station. It was later withdrawn after Monareng and his attackers decided to settle the matter out of court.
"I did not know that they were on strike. Had I known, I would have joined them," he said.
Andrew Shai, a taxi driver who was at the scene, said taxi drivers affiliated to the Phalaborwa Taxi Association have been on strike since last month.
The strike is in solidarity with a driver who was refused permission to register his taxi by the association.
The driver had allegedly been working for more than 15 years. He bought a vehicle of his own early this year but was refused permission to register it as a taxi by the local association.
This is in spite of the association's policy that taxi drivers who had worked for more than 10years are eligible to become taxi owners.