gqeberha protests

Gqeberha protests: Rioting taxi drivers torch busses [video]

Andile Sicetsha - 27.05.2021

Gqeberha protests continue on Thursday. Eight Algoa busses were torched and main roads remain blocked.

Eight commuter busses were gutted in flames on the second consecutive day of violent protests in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape.

Gqeberha protests: Busses torched, roads blockaded

On Thursday, Gqeberha’s public transit system was scuppered by the ongoing protests led by taxi drivers who are adamant that they were shortchanged by their respective associations.

Watching on from outskirts, onlookers captured footage of the busses belonging to Algoa as they melted in flames, inside a terminus in Motherwell.

This new development took place only hours before taxi operators involved in the strike were scheduled to meet with Nelson Mandela Bay’s executive mayor Nqaba Bhanga.

In a statement released by Bhanga on Wednesday, the mayor acknowledged that the taxi strike would continue in the midst of ongoing talks, but that “they would not result in the closure of roads.”

This, it seems, fell on deaf ears since rioters were seen barricading roads with burning bushes and rubble.

What prompted the violent protests?

Thus far, more than seven protestors have been placed under arrest and charged with public violence. A truck driver, who was allegedly accosted by an unknown group of protestors was killed and numerous Uber drivers’ vehicles have been destroyed.

Taxi associations have vehemently denied claims that they are withholding monies from the COVID-19 TERS fund, an allegation that is the core of these violent protests.

On Thursday, the Department of Labour will come forward to address the claims and provide more insight into where the funds allocated for taxi drivers went.

Meanwhile, Bhanga has called for an end to the violence that has negatively affected local businesses and innocent motorists.

“I wish to emphasise that there is no place for the violence and destruction e have witnessed over the last two days. The Metro will continue to facilitate a peaceful process of engagement to resolve the issues and return the situation to normal,” he said.

At the time this article was published, protest actions in various parts of Gqeberha were still ongoing.