The mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Nqaba Bhanga, has condemned the criminal acts displayed during the taxi-related protest in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape.

The metro-wide protest has entered its second day, with taxi drivers barricading roads.

The protest is apparently linked to a dispute between taxi drivers and owners over COVID-19 relief funds. During the protest, infrastructure was destroyed and vehicles attacked and damaged.

Bhanga says the drivers are protesting over a legitimate issue but the protest has been hijacked by criminals.

“This demonstration was a criminal demonstration where people burn and loot cars, loot vehicles for businesses destroyed cars. What they did in Njoli, those people who attacked that little lady with her car must get arrested and I’m happy people have arrested not less than seven people already,” says Bhanga.

Protest action in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro intensifies

Impact on port operations

Meanwhile, the taxi strike has had a negative impact on port operations. Transnet has indicated that they have activated business continuity plans.

Port Manager Rajesh Dana says they will continue to engage with relevant stakeholders to avoid any potential port delays.

“The taxi strike and associated protest started yesterday in Gqeberha, it did have an impact on both terminal operations as well as marine operation in the port of Port Elizabeth. With the start of the incident, we immediately activated business continuity plans as result. We were able to contain the negative impact on port operations. We had been working closely with all stakeholders in order to normalise port operations in the port of Port Elizabeth,” says Dana.