TAXI STRIKE CHAOS
THOUSANDS of commuters and schoolchildren were left stranded when Durban taxi operators began their two-day strike in the city.
Operators parked their taxis at home to protest against "continued harassment" by Durban Metro police.
Desperate commuters walked to work since buses could not accommodate all of them.
Some ended up staying at home, while those who managed to get lifts arrived late.
Schools in the area were also affected.
Some schools sent pupils back home and advised them to return on Wednesday.
Metrorail trains were packed to capacity, posing a danger to passengers hanging on to the trains for dear life.
This also caused delays since trains battled to cope with the swelling number of people.
Business houses said the stay-away had a negative impact on the local economy.
Yesterday's stay-away was called by the Concerned Taxi Operators, who were protesting against their taxis being impounded and issued with tickets.
Spokesperson Eugene Hadebe said they had had enough of the alleged "harassment by metro police".
"We have a big problem with metro police head Eugene Nzama.
"We say enough is enough. Our taxis are impounded because of permits, but it's not us who issue them but the board, which is why we want MEC for transport, community safety and liaison Willies Mchunu to intervene," Hadebe said.
Yesterday Mchunu was locked in an urgent meeting with metro police management to raise the concerns from all taxi organisations operating in the city.
Mchunu was expected to meet with striking taxi operators late yesterday to try and prevent the strike from entering a second day.
The Durban Chamber of Commerce slammed the strike.
"The province will definitely suffer a huge economic loss," Durban Chamber of Commerce chief executive Gugu Mazibuko said.
Even taxis from Pietermaritzburg were not allowed to enter Durban and had to drop passengers along the road for fear of being attacked.
Durban South Taxi Association chairperson and provincial taxi council member Mzameni Mthiyana said they would only call off the strike if Mchunu came up with something positive.
KwaZulu-Natal Transport Alliance general secretary Bafana Mhlongo said they were all victims of police harassment.
"As KZNTA we are fully behind the strike because the grievances are similar," Mhlongo said.
"Even if the strike continues until the World Cup we were going to support it.
"We cannot have a situation in which we get warrants because of the permits problem, which is out of our control."