19 Mar 2014 14:30pm
WINDHOEK, 19 MARCH (NAMPA) - The Namibia Transport and Taxi Union (NTTU) is entering the second day of a national strike by its estimated 12 000 members countrywide.
NTTU president Werner Januarie told Nampa on Wednesday that they have already given notice to both the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) and the City of Windhoek (CoW) of their intended mass drive through town, set to start on Thursday at 09h00.
According to letters in Nampa's possession, the route will take them from Donkerhoek in Katutura down Hans-Dietrich Genscher Street to Independence Avenue into Hosea Kutako Drive, via John Meinert Street into Mandume Ndemufayo Avenue via Jan Jonker into Robert Mugabe Avenue, past State House and up to the traffic circle in Olympia.
Thereafter, the protestors will take the same route back, with an estimated two-hour stop-over at the Wernhil shopping mall before returning to Donkerhoek.
According to the letters addressed to Nampol Inspector-General, Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CoW, Niilo Taapopi, the NTTU requested police protection during the strike.
The union intends to hold two mass rides, one scheduled for March 20, and a second mass ride on Independence Day on Friday, following the same route.
Meanwhile, the NTTU had handed over a petition towards the end of July 2013 to the Secretary of the National Assembly (NA) Jakes Jacobs to air their grievances about high traffic fines and a lack of enough taxi ranks in the city.
Januarie told Nampa this week that although they had given the NA ample time to respond to their grievances, there was no response, hence the strike.
Members of the union also indicated that they will hand their voters cards back to the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) as they feel that they vote for leaders who do not listen to their complaints.
This reporter also arrived just in time today to witness several operators throwing their cards into a box, which they say will be handed over to the ECN.
To counteract the strike, the CoW noted in a statement that they have put in place a contingency plan whereby municipal buses will be in operation throughout the strike.
The bus service will operate on the normal routes as from 05h00 in the morning until midnight, and this service will continue until the end of the strike.
Januarie said the strike will continue until their demands are met. When Nampa arrived at the area in Donkerhoek in Katutura where the taxi operators had parked their vehicles today, there was a significant increase in the number of taxis since the strike started on Tuesday.