KZN towns brace for taxi routes clash
The towns of Ladysmith and Ezakheni in central KwaZulu-Natal were on lockdown on Monday as feuding taxi associations clashed over routes.
The Klipriver and Sizwe Taxi Associations in Ladysmith have been embroiled in conflict for several years‚ a feud that has claimed 61 lives since 2014‚ according to the provincial department of transport.
After 11 people died in a mass shooting - including five teachers caught in the crossfire - on the N11 in October‚ Transport MEC Mxolisi Kaunda suspended the two taxi associations.
Gunmen had ambushed the deputy chairperson of the Klipriver Taxi Association as he was travelling in a bakkie on the N11 with four other occupants. The bakkie driver lost control of the vehicle and it collided with a minibus taxi transporting teachers from a local school.
Five busses‚ part of a service introduced to fill the void left by the suspended taxi operators‚ were torched at a depot on Sunday night. Burning barricades were also erected on routes around the town on Sunday night‚ prompting a response by riot police.
Kaunda’s spokesman Kwanele Ncalane said that the MEC had planned to visit the region on Monday. “Messages were circulated last night by taxi operators who were mobilising the community to shut down routes and disrupt operation of busses‚” he said.
“He (Kaunda) will receive an assessment from police and we will determine the next course of action .… We will not be threatened or intimidated.”
This is a developing story.
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