Gunfire as drivers fight over routes

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

Eleven taxi drivers operating between Polokwane in Limpopo and Johannesburg were arrested yesterday for public violence.

The men had allegedly fought at the main Polokwane taxi rank over the use of routes.

Superintendent Ronel Otto, spokesman for Limpopo's police commissioner Calvin Sengani, said yesterday the drivers were charged with public violence and would appear in the Polokwane magistrates' court today.

When Sowetan visited the Polokwane rank yesterday the situation was volatile and there were sounds of gunfire. People were running for cover.

A taxi at the corner of Rissik and Paul Kruger streets had all four of its tyres punctured by gunshots. Its driver had been assaulted but escaped with minor injuries.

Some taxi drivers were exchanging punches.

According to Otto, no serious injuries had been reported. People who sustained slight injuries were treated at Polokwane Hospital and discharged.

She said preliminary investigations revealed that two rival taxi associations were at loggerheads over routes.

"We were told the problem had been brewing for about two months and had not been solved.

"We are doing everything in our power to maintain peace for the sake of our people," Otto said.

According to information gathered at the rank, the long-standing dispute is between the Polokwane United Local and Long Distance Taxi Association and the Randburg Taxi Association.