Western Cape taxi strike impacts economy and services

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The taxi strike in the Western Cape has severely impacted economic activities and services in the province. Authorities say the long stay-away by SANTACO has had adverse effects on different sectors
including health, education, business and tourism.

At least five people have been killed in suspected taxi-strike related incidents in Cape Town since last Thursday.

Since the strike was announced last week, many sectors immediately felt the impact.  Tens of thousands of commuters were left stranded. Several health facilities closed due to the strike and criminal activity. Elective surgeries were postponed.

Western Cape Health Minister Nomafrench Mbombo says, “Not only we had to close 10 of the facilities, the Metro has closed many clinics. The issue is that we had to delay some of the operations. In Tygerberg there were about 120 nurses who couldn’t report to work.”

On Tuesday, more than 852 000 learners stayed away from school. This figure is 71% of the learners in the province.

The educator from Langa, who wanted to remain anonymous for safety reasons says school attendance has been poor over the last few days.

“Most parents are afraid to send their children to school and most of the leaners use scholar transport but now there’s no transport that is allowed to go.”

Cape Town taxi strike | Minister Bheki Cele briefing on taxi strike:

Businesses close doors

Some businesses were forced to close their doors due to safety reasons, while some suffered production and financial losses.

Owner of Zen Massage and Beauty Farshad Khoshroo says, “It looks like a ghost town at the moment. Staff cant get to work  and the food court across us is closed. Nobody is operating. No staff and no people coming to the city centre. We are just opening and closing everyday.”

Taxi strike enters sixth day:

Gugulethu Development Forum Vincent Domingo says, “There is a crisis, our people cannot go from pillar to post. In Gugulethu, there’s no bread as we are speaking. Because shops and bakers can not open This strike must stop.”

Local authorities say the strike has far reaching implications. Mayoral committee member in Economy Opportunities claims, “It’s very sad that this strike is negatively affecting our economic activities in the city, especially those relying on public transport to get to work. This will undoubtedly delay businesses and they are likely to loose money. Employees may loose pay due to no work and absenteeism that is beyond their control.”

The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry has compared the impact of the current taxi strike to that of Covid-19.

It says for many sectors it is too soon to quantify the economic loss, but businesses have reported widespread absenteeism linked to commuter inability to reach the workplace.