WALVIS BAY – A planned protest by taxi drivers at Walvis Bay was halted yesterday after controversial Namibia Transport and Taxi Union (NTTU) president Werner Januarie failed to show up, despite having organised the strike.
More than a 150 taxi drivers gathered at the kapana stalls in Kuisebmond from 06h00 to start with the planned protest.
They were supposed to march from Kuisebmond to the Walvis Bay municipal offices and Dunes mall to express their unhappiness over the lack of taxi drop-off zones, restrictions that allow only certain taxi drivers to operate between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund as well as fees payable at the mall.
The outspoken Januarie, who already communicated the intention of the protest last month to the Namibian police, was expected to lead the taxi drivers yesterday.
The disappointed taxi drivers patiently waited for Januarie to show up, but by 10h00 was still not at the starting point to lead the protest.
New Era newspaper also on numerous occasions tried to contact Januarie but all efforts were fruitless as calls or text messages were not returned. Some of the taxi drivers expressed their disappointment in Januarie failing to turn up and lead the protest, saying that they now question his commitment to the taxi industry.
“We left our clients to come and take part in the protest which turned out to be a waste of time and money. We have been here since 06h00 and it is almost 11h00 but our unionist is still not here. We were also not given any reason why he could not make it, in fact we were told that he is on his way,” one of the taxi drivers said.
Members of the Namibian Defence Force, police as well as municipal traffic officers were at the scene to lead the protest, but all waited in vain for Januarie to arrive.
Speaking to the media the Walvis Bay municipal traffic chief Eben Platt said that the issues raised by the taxi drivers have already been discussed and that the municipality was at the final stages to start with the changes needed.
“We have also already identified areas for drop-off zones and are working on its implementation, however we cannot allow them to protest and will only observe the area as the leader himself is not here,” Platt said yesterday.
Eveline de Klerk
2019-09-18 06:58:43 26 days ago