25 Jul 2013 08:20
WINDHOEK, 25 JUL (NAMPA) The striking members of the Namibia Transport and Taxi Union (NTTU) handed over a petition to the Secretary to the National Assembly, Jakes Jacobs here on Thursday.
Their scheduled march to Parliament did not take place as the demonstrators were asked to wait for Jacobs to meet them at the area in Katutura where they have gathered as part of the strike.
On Wednesday, NTTU president Werner Januarie told Nampa they received a call from Parliament saying their request to march to the National Assembly was approved, and they were expected to hand over their petition on Thursday at 12h00.
While waiting for the traffic officers to escort them to Parliament on Thursday, the demonstrators were however informed that the Secretary to the National Assembly will instead come to them and receive the petition.
The unions members started with their countrywide strike on Tuesday to protest the alleged high traffic fines imposed on them by the authorities.
Amongst other things, taxi drivers and owners are not happy with the lack of respect towards them by law-enforcement officers, as well as the issue of insufficient taxi ranks.
Before handing over the petition, Januarie briefed Jacobs about their situation, saying the unions members are suffering.
We are aggrieved by the hefty traffic fines which our members cannot afford. Instead of feeding their families, all they do is give money to the State in the form of traffic fines. All we are demanding is the reduction of such fines, as well as respect towards taxi operators by police officers.
Being a taxi driver is just a profession like any other profession, he stated.
Upon receiving the petition, Jacobs said he will forward it to the relevant authorities for consideration.
He also commended the demonstrators and the organisers of the demonstration for the mature manner in which the group conducted themselves.
Your petition is in safe hands, but remember this involves a process which may take long. We will do everything according to the law and I advise you to consider the rules in everything that will be done by all of you as a group, said Jacobs.
Speaking to this news agency shortly after handing over the petition, Januarie said he is happy now that a step has been taken, adding that as a union, they are expecting a detailed response from the lawmakers.
He however remained adamant that the handing over of the petition does not mean the strike is over, saying he will speak to the other organisers of the strike on the way forward.
We will discuss whether to continue with the strike or not, but our primary aim is to stay here until our demands are met, said Januarie.
Meanwhile, the demonstrators have voted for a resolution which states that all the taxis parked at the striking site will not be removed unless it is agreed on by a selected committee.
This is to prevent some of the taxi drivers from operating without the group having reached a consensus on such a move.