Hundreds of South African taxi drivers on Friday blocked roads to Johannesburg airport, holding up thousands of travellers and causing traffic chaos in a protest against the app-based taxi service Uber, local media reported.
The train going to the airport was packed with passengers trying desperately to catch their flights, witnesses said. Some travellers were seen walking towards the airport, hauling their luggage, the newspaper Times Live reported. The taxi drivers were accusing US-based Uber, which operates in South Africa's main cities, of pulling down prices and preventing them from making a living.
From this day we don't want to see Uber in our country, because it's illegal," one taxi driver told the broadcaster eNCA. Metered taxi drivers say Uber drivers do not pay licence fees. Dpa was unable to obtain a comment from Uber's South African branch. Police said the protest which affected R21, R24 and N12 highways, was illegal and metered taxis would be removed and those involved arrested.
Uber has faced protests from other taxi drivers in Europe, Latin America and Asia. It was not immediately known if the protest would lead to flights being delayed. Dpa was unable to reach the communications department of Johannesburg airport.