Walvis Bay taxi operators tired of bad roads

POOR ROAD CONDITIONS … Taxi operators at Walvis Bay halted operations yesterday morning to protest the poor condition of roads at the town. Those who continued to drive were stopped and peacefully urged to join the demonstration for their benefit. Photos: Taati Niilenge

Walvis Bay taxi operators staged a demonstration against potholes and high traffic fines at the town yesterday.

The group gathered near the Mautamanene fire station for the demonstration, organised by the Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF).

Some taxi drivers say poor road conditions have been causing damage to their cars, resulting in traffic officers issuing them with fines because their vehicles are not roadworthy.

“The road humps are high and our cars are small. There are potholes everywhere. We hit these potholes and high humps that are causing our lights to go off. Traffic officers just give us fines. We have families to feed, but our money goes into the fines. I currently have four tickets of N$1 500 each. We do not know the anger issues the traffic officers have on us,” said Josef Tuxab.

“We share our money with tickets. We sometimes fail to pay the fines because we cannot afford it. Failure to pay lands us in prison. That is why we decided to go on strike. We want these fines to be reduced. The municipality must fix the roads. We have family members to feed,” said Gustav Kandonga.

The group also made use of the opportunity to monitor illegal taxis that were suspected of working during the strike. They will be reported to the relevant authorities for action to be taken against them.

Some taxi drivers stood by the side of the road and tried to stop those who opted to continue operating.

NEFF deputy commander for Walvis Bay Pombili ya Festus said it was necessary to stop the drivers to inform them of the importance of standing together during the strike.

“Stopping them was, however, not by force, but to explain the importance of not operating during the strike. Some of them joined, while others still drove off. The situation will continue and we will not get help if we do not unite and fight for our roads. It is for their own benefit,” he said.

The demonstrating group plans to deliver a petition to the Walvis Bay municipality on Wednesday (today).

They previously handed over two petitions in 2023 but their demands have not been met.

Meanwhile, Walvis Bay mayor Trevino Forbes at a council meeting on Wednesday said the municipality was ready to start with road repairs, which include roadworks and pothole repairs.

“One key initiative is the progress on the establishment of an in-house pothole repair team. The team was established two years ago, but was not operational due to a lack of equipment and materials, which now has been resolved. Council will continue with four external pothole contracts. These contractors will be assigned to the critical areas – roads in Kuisebmond and Narraville that have been identified for urgent repair,” he said.

The identified areas include Agaat Street, Khomas Hochland Street, Sixteeth Avenue, Johannes Nampala Avenue, Nathaniel Maxuilili Avenue and Dune Street at Kuisebmond and Narraville.

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