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Walvis Bay law enforcement block taxi protest

Walvis Bay law enforcement block taxi protest

Niël Terblanché

A PROCESSION by about 100 taxi drivers in Walvis Bay was blocked by the Namibian Police and municipal traffic officials after Namibia Transport and Taxi Union (NTTU) president, Werner Januarie failed to make an appearance to support his members and no clear reason for the protest action could be established.
The large group of disgruntled taxi drivers gathered at the Kuisebmond Stadium in Walvis Bay to start with a mass drive through the streets of the harbour town which would have ended with them handing over a petition to the town council.

What could be gleaned from the taxi drivers about the protest was that they are unhappy about paying a once off service fee of N$100 per year to the management company of the Dunes Mall to make use of the taxi rank in the parking area and that more taxi ranks must be built in Walvis Bay where they can drop off and pick up customers. Another issue they want to have addressed are the fees their customers pay. The drivers want the union to lobby the authorities to increase the fees that customers pay and that they may ask more if a fair wants to dropped off at home.
Walvis Bay Traffic Chief, Eben Platt said the taxi drivers were not allowed to go ahead with their protest action because their motives were unclear.
“Had their union president been on hand we could have cleared up some of the misunderstandings, but unfortunately we are not willing to commit resources to an unorganised march that can turn into chaos and disrupt traffic in town,” he said.
The taxi union president promised earlier this year that if a solution for the fee at the Dunes Mall cannot be found that a demonstration will be held at the shopping centre on the 10th of September. The attempt at protest action only realised a week after the set date.
During June this year taxi drivers marched to the ministry of works’ head office in Windhoek where they raised concerns over the lack of loading points, amongst other demands.
At the time Januarie said a lack of loading points hampers the work of taxi drivers, and called on the government to make such facilities available.

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