By Robert Maswanganyi
Hoedspruit – South African Police Service (SAPS) in Hoedspruit outside Phalaborwa have on Friday arrested ten (10) taxi operators between the age of 26 and 44 after a shootout ensued as a result of the conflict over routes in the area.
It is alleged that an incident took place on Friday afternoon, after security vehicles hired by one taxi association to escort their taxis operating in a disputed area were confronted and chased away by a group of people believed to be members of another taxi association.
The occupants of these security vehicles, then responded by shooting at taxis of these people.
The police reports says the feud over these routes has been brewing since December 2018 and despite the intervention by the relevant authorities, the factions seem hell bent on causing havoc.
Police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe says three men were in the process struck by bullets and sustained serious injuries. Three Toyota Quantums belonging to the local taxi association were also damaged.
“The police were called and immediately responded, joined by members of tactical response team (TRT). Ten (10) suspects were then cornered and arrested after a car chase,”
“During the arrest, the police recovered two(02) rifles with 20 live ammunition, four (04) pistols, two vehicles, a Toyota Corolla and NP200 allegedly belonging to the suspects.” says Ngoape
Limpopo SAPS provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Nneke Ledwaba has condemned the acts of violence within the Taxi industry and urged all involved to engage the relevant authorities to solve their problems. He further warned all trouble makers that they will face the full might of the law.
“The suspects will appear before the Hoedspruit magistrate’s court on Monday, facing charges of attempted murder and malicious damage to property,” concluded Ngoepe.
The police investigations are still continuing.