NABTA members not taking part in Tuesday's strike: Muunda

22 Jul 2013 06:20
WINDHOEK, 22 JUL (NAMPA) - Members of the Namibia Bus and Taxi Association (NABTA) will not take part in the planned countrywide strike by taxi drivers on Tuesday.
NABTA president Vespa Muunda told Nampa in a telephonic interview on Monday that members of his organisation will not form part of the countrywide strike, which is being organised by the Namibia Transport and Taxi Union (NTTU), a breakaway faction of NABTA.
Muunda said any member of NABTA wanting to take part in Tuesday's strike will do so without the blessing of the association’s leadership, and at their own risk.
No meetings were held by this association over the past few months where discussions about a strike took place, he added.
“We have also not received reports, complaints or suggestions from our members wanting to take part in the strike. We have never held any meeting in which a resolution was taken for our members to go on strike.
In order for our members to go on strike, a resolution first has to be taken by the leadership during a meeting and thereafter, this resolution should be communicated to the Ministry of Works and Transport before any strike,” the NABTA president explained.
Meanwhile, a report carried by local English daily Namibian Sun on Monday said NTTU president Werner Januarie has indicated that taxi drivers will go on a countrywide strike on Tuesday.
“The strike is on as from 23 July 2013,” Januarie told that newspaper.
In Windhoek, taxi operators will gather at the open space in Donkerhoek in Katutura, the same spot where they gathered during the 2011 taxi strike.
Januarie said they had given Government a deadline of 20 July this year to respond to their grievances, but they did not receive any feedback.
He earlier said taxi operators were concerned about high traffic fines, insufficient taxi ranks and a lack of respect and recognition of taxi drivers by law-enforcement officers.
Januarie told Namibian Sun that traffic rules are not enforced equally.
“It is unlawful to load people on a pick-up or in the back of a lorry, but people are doing that and nothing happens to these drivers. That is an unfair application of the law we are talking about,” he stated.
The NTTU's National Organiser, Amon Kaulinge confirmed that they did not receive any response from the Ministry of Justice, Office of the Ombudsman, Windhoek Municipality or the City Police.
Taxi operators gathered in Katutura on Sunday, where the NTTU advised them on how to behave during the strike.
“We told them not to insult or obstruct the police in doing their work, or to stop other taxis that will be operating on that day,” Kaulinge noted.
He added that the only thing ‘pushing’ the union into the strike is the high traffic fines.
“We want it to be reduced. Some drivers have quit their work because of these high fines,” he stated.
Drivers from towns such as Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Otjiwarongo, Oshakati, Eenhana and Oshikango are set to join the strike.
Kaulinge added that the strike will be indefinite.
“As long as we get an official to speak to us, or when we feel we are heard, then we might decide to stop,” he said.