Tshwane Central Business District (CBD) Pretoria, South Africa, witnessed chaos Wednesday following commotion sparked by taxi drivers during an altercation with alleged drug dealers in the city.
This mirrors what happened with municipal workers who brought the city to a standstill during a protest a few weeks ago. Traffic also came to a standstill as taxi operators blocked all major intersections forcing motorists to find alternative routes to navigate through the CBD.
Sources say the commotion started when taxi drivers confronted drug dealers and buyers near Bloed Street Mall as the they have been fighting with drug dealers for a while.
A taxi driver was shot and killed during a dispute after dealers and buyers reportedly resisted and fought back the taxi operators.
Since the shooting, taxi operators engaged in a protest action where they hijacked numerous buses and blocked major intersections in the CBD.
Tshwane metro police department spokesperson senior superintendent Isaac Mahamba said traffic officers were able to clear the road and removed the buses that were used to block roads.
While, Roads and Transport MMC Sheila Lynn Senkubuge raised concern over violence which resulted in disruption of public transport operations.
A shooting which resulted in the death of a taxi driver is reported to have incited the riots. The riots led to two A Re Yeng and three Tshwane Bus Services and Gautrain buses as well as two trucks being utilised to blockade the roads,” she said.
“A Re Yeng and Tshwane Bus Services operations were halted for the remainder of the day in the interest of safety. A Re Yeng C3 and F5 feeder routes were among the affected public transport routes as riots unfolded in the vicinity of Bloed Mall.
“The affected streets included Sisulu, Boom and Soutpansberg. At the time of this release, ceased buses and trucks were reportedly not damaged.”
She added that the shooting and killing was not justified and that perpetrators of the murder and unlawful violence should be punished.
“The City would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused by the disruptions to public transport operations within the CBD,” she said.
SAPS spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo said a case of murder would be opened and investigations were already initiated.
“At the moment we don’t have any information about the suspect or suspects, but we are on top of the matter. We are, however, also appealing to members of the public to help us catch the person responsible.”