Taxi drivers shut down Mthatha days before elections

By Anita Dangazele

Taxi drivers hijacked trucks and blocked major routes in Mthatha on Monday morning, just two days before the general elections. 

The Border Alliance Taxi Association is demanding the return of 38 pistols and five rifles that were seized from taxi operators and their security on Friday by the police after taxi violence resurfaced in the province last week Wednesday and Thursday. 

It has been just a little more than a month after a peace accord signed by all taxi associations aimed at putting an end to the bloodshed.

Three taxi drivers were killed and thirteen others were injured, including two civilians. 

Transport MEC Xolile Nqatha condemned the resurgence of violence.

“We will not allow a growing parallel government where there are heavily armed people frightening communities with high calibre firearms. People must obey all the existing laws of the country,” Nqatha said.

“I must repeat the call. They must just put down their arms.” 

Eastern Cape Department of Transport spokesperson, Unathi Binqose, said law enforcement agencies were on the ground trying to control the situation.

“However, there are now reports of massive looting. Looting of trucks that are carrying goods into Mthatha. Incidents that are likely to have crippling effects on the economy not just of the town but of the province and possibly of the country as well,” Binqose said.

He said the department is in talks with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) for support.

“We are getting reinforcement from the SANDF to try to bring the situation back to normal,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the strike has affected many things. Schools and airports and just about everything.”

Pictured above: Trucks blockading roads leading into Mthatha CBD.

Image source: Supplied

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