Nelson Mandela Bay Metro protest affected the economy: Business Chamber

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The four-day taxi strike that occurred in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro this past week left a detrimental effect on the economy and on the lives of the citizens.

There were violent scenes across the metro, as taxi drivers protested, blocking access to roads. This affecting services and citizens of the metro.

Video: Angry taxi drivers in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro protest over unpaid COVID-19 relief funds

Many people lost out on work affecting their income, and the strike also affected the health sector, as many could not access medical care.

There were reports of manufacturing companies that suspended work, fearing for the safety of their workers.

The port of Port Elizabeth also indicated that the strike affected operations. Contingency plans were made.

Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber CEO, Denise Van Huyssteen, says the protest action affected the economy.

“It is difficult to quantify the rand losses to the businesses sector, but this came at a huge expense, further tarnishing the image of our metro as a stable investment destination for investors. Some manufacturers had to shut down their operations for a few days impacting their ability to meet export and other customer requirements while thousands of employees lost wages. Our province has the highest unemployment rate in the country further reinforcing the unacceptable harm caused by this past week,” says Van Huyssteen.

Video: Nelson Mandela Bay municipality condemns taxi-related protest in the metro

Chronic patient Ntombizandile Kimberly was looking forward to the day she could get her vaccine. Unfortunately, the week-long burning and the fear-instilling protestors jailed her in her home.

Living in KwaDwesi at Gqeberha, the 67-year-old was stuck in the middle of all the violence. Kimberly was supposed to get her vaccine on Tuesday, and now nearly a week later, she wonders if she’ll ever get the chance to get the vaccination.

“I’m scared, the date I was given to get the vaccination was personally for me. I missed my day, so I won’t get it now, I don’t know. If they reschedule me, will I not be taking someone else’s date and vaccine? Because it is scheduled for that person. I am scared and I don’t know what to do,” says Kimberly.

The anger from the protestors saw buses being burned and private transportation being stoned and pushed off the road. This affected schooling and other academic activities in the metro. Some students were unable to write exams. One student who does not want to be identified says he is worried about his future.

“The situation is so bad. It affected me in a way I can’t even explain. I am very hurt because I lost my exam which means if I don’t get any chance from now, I will have to write my exams in November.”

The strike ended after it was agreed that a list of taxi drivers qualifying for the COVID- 19 relief fund will be submitted to the Department of Labour.

The Department will then be given seven days to respond to the taxi drivers. All taxi operations have resumed across the metro.