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The Tshwane Bus Service has been suspended after some of the buses were attacked by protesting taxi operators. PHOTO: ANA

The Tshwane municipality on Thursday suspended its Tshwane Bus Service after several were stoned as taxi drivers and operators embarked on a crippling protest across Gauteng.

Municipality spokesperson Selby Bokaba said other services offered by the municipality could also be affected.

“The Tshwane Bus Services has suspended its operations after six of its buses were stoned this morning after leaving the depot at WF Nkomo Street. The buses were forced to return to the depot,” said Bokaba.

“Some of the city employees reside in areas affected by the protest action and are thus unable to report for duty due to the unavailability of public transport. The protest action is likely to have an impact on service delivery today.”

Bokaba said the municipality would inform residents once the situation had returned to normal.

“As a caring employer, the city has the responsibility to safeguard the lives of its employees as well as its assets. We will monitor the situation and once it returns to normality, some of the services will resume earnestly,” he said.

“While we acknowledge that the right to protest is constitutionally guaranteed, however, the protesters have no right to blockade the routes and intimidate those that wish to travel to their workplaces and to school.”

Tshwane apologized for the disruption of service.

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Meanwhile, Tshwane University of Technology spokesperson Willa de Ruyter the institution of higher education was monitoring the protest closely.

“We have been informed that the TMPD [Tshwane Metro Police Department] is in the process of clearing blocked roads. Students who are affected and cannot get to exam venues, will not be disadvantaged and should contact their lecturers or heads of department,” she said.

“Those who are already at examination and test venues, will continue to write as scheduled.”

Chaos erupted on Gauteng’s major freeways on Thursday as protesting taxi operators used their vehicles, as well as hijacking heavy trucks, to block the roads.

The taxi operators, aligned to the South African National Taxi Council, are protesting against what they call high repayment fees on their vehicles.

– ANA