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Taxi rank nyaope addicts make commuting a 'living hell' in Pretoria

An addict displays how he injects the deadly concoction into his blood stream.
An addict displays how he injects the deadly concoction into his blood stream.

"You risk your life daily by using the Bloed Mall taxi rank."

For many commuters in Pretoria, the drug ridden inner city is a journey fraught with danger.

Vusi Ntuli uses the taxi rank on a daily basis while travelling from Soshanguve to Sunnyside. 

Ntuli said the biggest problem at the rank was the "nyaope boys" who make using public transport a "living hell". 

He knocks off from work at 5pm and arrives at the rank just before 6pm when "it's the worst".

"That taxi rank is very bad. They [nyaope boys] rob you in broad daylight in front of people and the people don't even help you, they just pass. There is no security there.

"It's not safe, we walk in groups to protect ourselves," said Ntuli. 

Several commuters raised these concerns with the taxi drivers in July. The drivers responded by forcefully removing the drug addicts from the rank.

"The taxi drivers used sjamboks to try and chase them away, but not long after that they came back. 

"They are addicts, they get the drugs there, so where are they going to go?"

Ntuli claimed that the drug addicts were also involved in armed robberies, smash-and-grabs and car break-ins. 

"Sometimes they will even cut your bag underneath from behind with a razor without you knowing. This is how they will steal your stuff. 

"Even the women there are on drugs. They don't bath or anything, so you can imagine. This thing won't end soon," he said. 

Violence erupted in the capital city on Wednesday morning after angry taxi operators took to the streets in an attempt to rid the city of alleged drug dealers.

In the process, several foreign-owned shops and business were looted and torched.

Protesters also smashed windows and damaged cars.

The killing of a taxi driver near the Bloed long-distance taxi rank on Tuesday sparked the violence.

Nomalanga Mnisi pays R50 per day to travel from Mabopane to the Unisa campus. 

Mnisi said women were even at greater risk of being attacked by drug addicts at the taxi rank. 

“It’s not safe walking there as a woman because they snatch our bags and rob us. We are scared of them, because we can’t fight back,” Mnisi said.

She usually arrives at the rank after 3pm to take a taxi home. "It is very busy that time of day. There are a lot of nyaope boys there. You can see they are on drugs. 

"They even inject themselves right in front of us."

Police spokesman Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said a group of protesters attempted to march in Sunnyside on Thursday afternoon, but were stopped in their tracks by law enforcement.

"The situation is calm at the moment. There is no violence happening for now."

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