free hit counter code Taxi protests in Mthatha suspended after disrupting elections and services –

Taxi protests in Mthatha suspended after disrupting elections and services

Taxi-related protests in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, have been indefinitely suspended, according to a post by the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) on X formerly known as Twitter.

The protests, which brought Mthatha to a standstill on Monday, saw taxi operators block major exits, severely impacting local activities.


The protests had a significant effect on the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), preventing 455 voting stations from opening by 9:00. The blocked roads initially stopped IEC Presiding Officers from accessing storage sites to collect voting materials.

However, by midday, the South African Police Services (SAPS) managed to clear some roads, allowing the casting of special votes to resume in several areas.
By 13:00 on Monday, an IEC update revealed that 108 of the initially affected 455 voting stations were still closed. The disruption was most severe in Port St. Johns, where 81 out of 135 voting stations remained non-operational.

The unrest also saw an IEC officer stabbed during community protests.


The Eastern Cape Health Department reported that the protests also disrupted medical services. Ambulances could not access Mthatha, leaving patients in need of urgent medical care stranded.

Spokesperson Mkhululi Ndamase noted that hospital staff from Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital, Mthatha Regional Hospital, and St. Barnabas Hospital were unable to commute due to the blocked roads.

Consequently, hospitals operated with minimal staff. Ndamase assured that as soon as the roads reopened, staff would resume their duties.

“As soon as roads reopen, those who are supposed to be on duty will go to work to relieve those who worked the night shift.

“In emergency cases, the department will use aeromedical services to transfer patients,” said Ndamase.

The protests in Mthatha began on Monday morning when aggrieved taxi operators hijacked trucks to block the N2 entry and exit points to the town. This action followed a crackdown on the taxi industry due to a surge in violence, which appeared to violate a recent peace agreement.


Additional Public Order Policing units were deployed in KwaZulu-Natal and Mthatha to bolster existing crime combatting efforts.

General Masemola emphasised the importance of maintaining a safe and secure environment for the upcoming elections. He tasked the officers with preventing and combating criminal activities including protests while ensuring that South Africans can exercise their right to vote in peace.

“We are sending you off to maintain law and order. No disruptions and acts of criminality should take place under your watch. We are sending you out there to protect the constitutional right of South Africans and the integrity of the election process,” said General Masemola.

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