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Bus commuters left stranded

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Commuters who rely on buses for transport were left stranded by the nationwide bus drivers’ strike that commenced yesterday (Wednesday). Residents had to make alternative plans to get to their work places with Mankweng among the most affected. Taxi drivers had their hands full yesterday as they had to cater for a large number of commuters.
Striking drivers affiliated with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) are demanding a 15% pay hike.
Great North Transport (GNT) Marketing and Business Development Manager, Patrick Monkoe outlined that they have been negotiating with Satawu since Tuesday but that a suitable agreement could not be reached. He further said they were satisfied that all their buses were safe. “GNT is government driven and as a result we don’t chase profit but we will definitely lose a lot if the strike continues until the end of Easter. We are more concerned about service delivery and want to make sure that commuters reach their destinations.”
Monkoe explained that many factors have to be taken into consideration before wages are increased. “We wish to find a suitable solution as soon as possible.”
The strike however does not affect all bus companies. Kopano Bus Service Executive Director Oli­via Maponya confirmed that their services were running smoothly even though they were anxious that drivers may be victimised.
“We transported commuters to town and Lebowakgomo without a problem. I can also confirm that we will be transporting Zion Christian Church members to Moria for their Easter prayer sessions,” she said.
She indicated that they communicate with employees on a regular basis and that is why they are not affected by the strike. She added that constant communication is key and employers should listen to their employees.
Department of Transport Spokesperson Joshua Kwapa said Government does not get involved when employees have a problem with an employer but emphasised that their interest is that the matter be resolved so that residents can be transported to their respective destinations. Kwapa further said they wish the workers representatives and the employers could reach to an agreement as soon as possible to close the gap in the transport industry.
Provincial Government Spokesperson Phuti Seloba said the strike would have a negative impact on service delivery unless it is resolved soon.

Story: ENDY SENYATSI
>>endy@observer.co.za