By Nozipho Sibiya | 2018-08-10
COMMUTERS were left stranded as kombis ferrying people from Lobamba, Mvutshini, Mbabane and other surrounding areas were grounded for the better part of yesterday.
This was after drivers and conductors went on strike.
The Operational Support Services Unit (OSSU) and police officers from Mbabane and Lobamba stations were called to disperse the rowdy conductors who were based at Mvutshini.
The strike would not have come on a bad day given the weather. The stranded commuters had to walk through the cold and wet weather of yesterday with temperatures at 12 Degrees.
Information gathered is that the drivers and conductors are complaining that traffic officers do not want them to rank at The Gables bus station. The conductors and drivers alleged that the police only wanted them to pick their passengers and go.
They said when they rank there; they end up being issued with tickets by police officers for breaking the law. The angry drivers and conductors stated that whenever they rank at the spot, police pounce and chase them away.
They do not understand why police arrest them because the bus stop is situated next to a shopping complex and there were people coming from the shops to board kombis.
“Police officers expect us to just leave the public stranded because we are not supposed to pick them up at that spot. Today we resolved to park our kombis as a sign of protest,” said one conductor.
They also called for the removal of a certain traffic officer whom they are accusing of boasting that he was going to deal with public service vehicle workers.
Kombis that tried to pass Mvutshini with passengers were blocked and grounded as the drivers and conductors made it clear that no one will work until their issue was resolved.
Meanwhile, Local Kombis Association Chairman Mandla Dlamini said they had a fruitful meeting with Lobamba police officers yesterday.
“We had the chance to meet with the director traffic and director of operations at the Lobamba Police Station. The issues were discussed and a way forward was mapped,” he said.
Dlamini said the police requested that conductors should acknowledge that they were breaking a law by ranking at The Gables bus stop.
“We also asked the officers to always engage the conductors before arresting them. We are not saying they shouldn’t arrest them, but they have to explain everything before arresting them so they know it is wrong for them to rank at the bus stop,” he said.
He mentioned that the police advised them to go and apply for a ranking permit at the Ezulwini Municipality.
Dlamini promised that they would now have a smooth relationship with the police and they would continue serving the nation all the times.
Chief Police Information and Communications Officer, Superintendent Khulani Mamba, confirmed the meeting with the Local Kombis Association yesterday.
“Lobamba police had a meeting with Local Kombis Association and many issues were resolved while others were still to be investigated,” he said.
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