24 Mar 2014 18:40pm
WINDHOEK, 24 MAR (NAMPA) - Around 200 taxi operators affiliated to the Namibia Transport and Taxi Union (NTTU) took to the streets in the capital on Monday to raise awareness about their grievances as part of their ongoing strike.
They were escorted by members of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) and the City Police.
The taxi operators started striking last week in protest at high traffic fines, the lack of taxi ranks around Windhoek, and the alleged attitude of law enforcement officials.
The president of the NTTU, Werner Januarie told Nampa in an interview on Monday he is satisfied with the attendance of the taxi operators who took part in the demonstration called a mass ride by the union.
He also alleged that the attitude of the law enforcement officials remains an issue, claiming that it was once again evident this morning that the officials are out to make life difficult for taxi operators.
The attitude was repeated again this morning. We were supposed to be escorted in a unit from Donkerhoek, but they (NamPol and the City Police) divided us again when the escort cars in front drove 120 kilometres per hour, while those cars at the back were left behind, he stated.
This news agency caught up with the operators at the open taxi rank north of the Wernhil shopping centre, where a clearly frustrated Januarie said they handed over a letter to the Office of the Prime Minister and the Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs to ask for an audience with the office and committee on Wednesday.
This is only a grievance letter as we already handed over a petition regarding the issues to the Secretary of the National Assembly, Jakes Jacobs in July last year. We want to know why it takes so long to address our problems. Why, when the fines were implemented, was it done in a short time span, but now it takes so long to reverse? he said.
Flanked by several taxi operators, the NTTU president asked why elected leaders cannot come out of their offices and address the taxi operators.
Every time it is me who has to address the operators when the leaders want to share information with the taxi drivers. I was not the one who implemented the new fines, those who implemented the new fines must come out and talk to the people, he stated.
He went on to say the high fines are not a Januarie problem, but a national problem.
He said the NTTU is lobbying for everyone to join the strike as the high traffic fines affect everyone, not only taxi operators.
Januarie also issued an open invitation to the former Secretary-General (SG) of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), Evilastus Kaaronda, to address his unions members.