15/06/2017 16:06 SAST | Updated 15/06/2017 16:22 SAST

Here Is How Taxi Operators Hijacked Trucks To Blockade Major Roads

"They made it clear that I could not say no."

Duenna Mambana

Truck driver Gilbert Mamba has apologised to motorists who were meant to use the New Road offramp in Johannesburg from the N1 southbound to work on Thursday morning.

Mamba's truck was used by taxi operators to blockade the offramp from 3.30am.

Taxi operators blockaded major routes in Midrand leading to the N1 highway.

Mamba told HuffPost SA that he was driving from Pretoria to the Johannesburg City Deep when taxi operators signalled for him to take the offramp.

"As we were approaching the New Road bridge, I noticed that there was an unusual number of taxis, but did not make much of it. I was then redirected by the drivers who said I should take the exit. I thought they wanted to help me make a u-Turn, but, before I could get off the truck to find out what was happening, my truck was surrounded by more than 10 taxis," Mamba told HuffPost SA.

He said the drivers told him they needed the truck.

"They told me they need to use the truck to block New Road Eastbound. They made it clear that I did not have a choice. Once again, before I could say my piece, they removed the keys from the ignition and left me there. My boss had to drive from Tzaneen in Limpopo to bring me spare keys so I can be able to take the truck back," said Mamba.

"I might as well go back home. I know that by the time I arrive at my destination the loading bay will be closed," said Mamba.

Another truck driver, a 25-year-old from KwaMhlanga who did not want to be named, shared Mamba's sentiments adding that he could not say no to the operators.

He said, "After my truck keys were taken by the taxi operators, they did not even tell me what time I would get them back so I could move the truck off the road and continue with my journey. My truck was taken around 4.30am."

Officers from the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police (JMPD) recovered Mamba's keys seven hours after he had been on the road.

Santaco has since called off the strike for now while its leaders head to Emperor's Palace to hand over a memorandum to the finance division of SA Taxi Holdings.