The four-day taxi strike in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro this past week has left a detrimental effect not only on the economy, but on the lives of citizens. Many people missed work and this will negatively affect their income.
The strike also affected the health sector, as many could not access medical care.
A 67-year-old chronic patient from KwaDwesi Township felt the impact of the strike.
Ntombizandile Kimberly says she was looking forward to getting vaccinated.
Unfortunately, the week-long burning and fear instilling protest forced her to stay at home, causing her to miss her vaccination date and now she wonders if she will get another date for the shot.
“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 Kimberley.
During the protest, busses were burnt and private vehicles stoned and forced off the road. This affected schooling, and academic activities, with some students missing their exams.
“Like 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,” one student told SABC News.
There were reports of manufacturing companies suspending work, fearing for the safety of their workers. The port of Port Elizabeth also indicated that the strike affected operations and contingency plans had to be made.
“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 Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber CEO, Denise van Huyssteen.
The strike ended after it was agreed that a list of 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.
Angry taxi drivers NMB drivers protest over unpaid COVID-19 relief fund:
All operations have resumed across the metro.