City to Extend Bus Services Amid Taxi Strike

THE Windhoek Municipality has decided to extend the operations of its bus service as from yesterday because of the ongoing taxi strike.

The city said the ongoing taxi strike in Windhoek might have serious implications on the mobility and its economic functions.

Only a handful of taxi drivers turned up for the strike in Katurura’s Donkerhoek area yesterday, led by the Namibia Transport and Taxi Union (NTTU), to protest against the high traffic fines after government failed to give a favourable response to their demands.

By yesterday, the traffic flow in Windhoek continued as normal while the few taxi drivers who turned up at Donkerhoek in Katutura for the strike vowed not to return to work until government reduced the heavy traffic fines.

CEO of the City of Windhoek Niilo Taapopi said that the arrangement would be of a temporary nature while they investigate ways to run a fully-fledged public transport system that will operate for extended periods.

“The operation of the municipal buses will be extended from 05h00 to 24h00 through the normal routes and will remain in place until the end of the strike,” Taapopi said in a statement yesterday.

“In order to ensure safety during this period, we will increase the visibility of our City Police officers to control crowds and protect the taxi operators who have chosen not to partake in the strike. Be assured that the law will be enforced and no victimisation will be tolerated,” he said.

Meanwhile, president of the NTTU Werner January yesterday said that they had no control over those who chose to operate on what was supposed to be a big day for the industry. He, however, said that they will continue with the strike until their demands, which also include the setting-up of sufficient taxi ranks around the country, are met.

Some of the taxi drivers on strike said they felt targeted because the fines mostly affected them.

“As I’m speaking now I have been slammed with three tickets already and I hardly have enough money for my pocket at the end of the month,” said Levi ya Levi, a Windhoek-based taxi driver.

Source : The Namibian