The 23rd of November 2021 was an agonising experience for commuters who were left stranded when public transport operators decided to go on strike in protest against a hike in permit renewal fees imposed by the Department of Road Transport and Safety (DRTS).
The permit renewal fees were increased from P275.00 to P1000.00 and with the recent petrol hike already decimating their daily income, the transport operators felt their tolerance had been overstretched.
They parked their vehicles for most of the day as they engaged in negotiations with the DRTS for an amicable solution.
The Voice Newspaper team took to the streets to get a cross section of opinions on the issue.
PAKO TSHUKUDU (18)
I feel the increase of the renewal of permits by the government was ridiculous hence the action taken by the combi men as their means of living is affected.
I disagree with the increase of public transport fees because most people including students and other working class are struggling, so it will be extremely difficult for them as well.
BATLHABANI MATHAKE (42)
What the combi operators did on Tuesday was the right thing. The government must not take these kind of decisions and expect people to be happy.
I think it is high time the government and the private sector increase workers salaries because the cost of living has gone up.
It is not only the combi drivers who are suffering.
That is how we should address this situation.
COLLEN MODISE (39)
I think the combi drivers have enforced the right strategy to force the government to hear their concerns as an Association.
The petrol and permit renewal fees abruptly went up just like that and this is unfair because they are running at a loss.
I believe they should have consulted first in order to avoid the situation we witnessed on Tuesday.
OWEN MMUTLE (30)
We have heard the concerns of our combi men. What they are going through is a major concern, but they’re not the only ones affected in this situation.
We are also affected as the private sector. When was the last time our salaries were increased?
Covid-19 has worsened our economic situation and government is not helping the by by increasing transport fees.
I suggest they wait a bit longer so that salaries can at least be increased.
TLAMELO GAPI (24)
I am totally against the combi men’s proposal to increase public transport fees.
I suggest the government should at least revisit their decision of hiking the renewal of permits.
The fees are just too steep in my view.
LESEGO MACHOLA (24)
I feel their proposal to increase the public transport fees will be costly.
The living standard is very low for most of us, hence we are going to struggle to keep up with these fees because it’s not like our salaries will be increased anytime soon.
My suggestion therefore is that government should not increase the renewal fees of permits.
Most Batswana are already struggling financially and increasing fees will only worsen the situation.