Ver Angola


Taxi drivers reaffirm strike and demarcate themselves from acts of vandalism in Luanda

The taxi drivers' associations reaffirm the strike, which started this Monday, with emphasis on the province of Luanda, and demarcate themselves from acts of vandalization and riots registered in the municipality of Benfica.


Speaking to Lusa news agency, the president of the New Alliance of Angola Taxi Drivers (ANATA), Francisco Patient, regretted the lack of dialogue with the authorities.

"Unfortunately, the authorities continue to lie to public opinion, saying that they were meeting in the morning with the associations, this is not true, and this strike only materialized because of this fact, of the authorities being reactive rather than proactive", he said.

Speaking to Radio Nacional de Angola, Luanda's provincial director of traffic and mobility, Filipe Kumandal, said that some taxi driver associations "have been avoiding dialogue", suggesting that "there can only be something behind this", once that the first part of the demands - return to full capacity - has been met and the rest "are being processed".

However, according to Francisco Patient, "there was no contact between the authorities and the three organizations that called for the strike".

"The authorities are forging individuals to pass themselves off as associations, when they know who the real responsible and promoters are. There is even a statement that circulates on social networks and the public press, TPA, TV Zimbo, at any time contacted one of the organizers," he said.

Francisco Patient said that, in place of those responsible for the associations, the public press are contacting "small businessmen in the private transport sector, to pass themselves off as the leader of the associations, to revoke the strike and what happened because the taxi drivers got even more furious".

"Because they saw public television broadcasting the image of strange individuals speaking on behalf of the taxi drivers. Now I heard the National Police saying that they are talking to the associations in Benfica, but all the leaders of the associations that summoned [the strike] received no communication, absolutely none for dialogue," he stressed.

The association leader denounced that "they are forging individuals, who are agitating people to build barricades".

"These unidentified people, supposedly forged by the secret services or I don't know, to try to tarnish the name of the associations, which is why the Government has not dialogued so far, the Government wants to create conditions to tarnish the associations, rather than resolve, if they sit down, they want revenge, create conditions for burning vehicles, as they are doing at Benfica, for aggression, for vandalism", he accused.

The ANATA president highlighted that the claims are not only related to the reduction of taxi drivers' capacity, imposed by the presidential decree of the state of calamity, due to covid-19, but also "old claims" that were suspended in March of the last year, when they announced a stoppage of services, and that has not been responded to by the Government to date.

"Several promises have been made and absolutely none of the promises made" have been kept, he said, with the exception of repairing a stretch of road in the Congolese.

As for the inclusion of taxi drivers in social security, access to a professional card, exclusion in some arteries of Luanda province, remain unresolved and, "on the contrary, the abuse of authority by street agents has worsened, that is, it has deteriorated relationship between taxi drivers and the police", he indicated.

The lifting of the restriction on capacity, which determined the occupation of 30 percent of its capacity, was only done "verbally" by the government, he said.

After this verbal response, continued the ANATA leader, "the Government was using strange people to get through public communication, without the contradictory of those who called for the strike, to make people and public opinion believe that there would be no strike."

"People today went to the streets convinced that there would be no stoppage, because the public communication lied and are verifying that all taxi drivers are paralyzed", he stressed.

Francisco Patient reaffirmed availability for dialogue, stressing that "the acts performed by the public administration must be carried out in the minutes, by memorandum".

The strike was called by ANATA and by the Angola Taxi Drivers Association and Luanda Taxi Drivers Association.

Taxi drivers complain about the excessive zeal of police officers against them and the poor condition of the roads and demand professionalization of the activity and formalization of the announcement of the return to 100% capacity of public transport, made last Friday by the Minister of State and head of the Military House of the President of the Republic, Francisco Furtado.


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