Johannesburg - The ongoing fuel sector strike is threatening
the taxi industry's operations, the SA National Taxi Council said on Wednesday.
"If the petrol strike continues, the taxi industry will
have no means to conduct business," said spokesperson Tabisho Molelekwa.
Clement Chitja, head of collective bargaining for the
Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood, and Allied Workers Union (Ceppwawu), denied
that the strike was to blame for fuel shortages.
"There are transport companies contracted to deliver
fuel. It is a separate industry and they are not on strike."
He said the fuel shortage was therefore "not
necessarily" as a result of the strike, but implied there were logistical
problems unrelated to the industrial action.
Molelekwa said the fuel shortage was impacting on the taxi
industry in two ways.
Taxi drivers had to travel off their normal business routes
to find garages that had petrol. This increased the cost of operations, cutting
Secondly, the additional time it took to find fuel and
deviations from normal routes meant the operations would not run as smoothly.
"This is why the industry will find it difficult to
operate if the strike continues," he said.
The suspension of taxi services would have severe knock-on
effects for other sectors of the economy as many workers would have no means of
getting to work,"except walking", Moleleka said.
Fuel Retailers Association chief executive Reggie Sibiya
said fuel shortages had already reached critical levels, particularly in Gauteng
townships and central business districts.
"Gauteng is the hardest hit. We have heard that at
least 300 petrol stations have run dry and the situation is worsening," he
KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo are also experiencing shortages.
"If we do not get resolution on the strike this week,
Gauteng will soon be entering crisis mode."
Sibiya said many fuel retailers had been forced to send
their employees home because there was no petrol to sell.
"These employees are often the main breadwinners for
their families and the strike is forcing them to stay at home."
Chitja said by Thursday afternoon the union was likely to
have received feedback from its members on whether the employers' offer had
On Monday Ceppwawu, the Allied Workers Union, Solidarity and
the General Industries Workers Union of SA met with employers for wage
Chitja said the employers had offered a 10% increase
for workers at the lowest level, raising their minimum wage from R4 000 to R4
400. Other levels were offered 8%.
The strike began last week on Monday, with Solidarity joining a
week later in the hopes of lending a greater sense of urgency to the