Saturday, August 31, 2019

Calm Restored to Pretoria CBD, 17 Arrested
29 August 2019 - 07:32

Fire fighters extinguish fires in Pretoria after protests on August 28 2019.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

Calm has been restored to Pretoria after violence erupted in the capital city, police said on Thursday morning.

Chaos erupted in the CBD 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 in the city on Tuesday sparked the violence.

Police spokesperson Brig Mathapelo Peters confirmed that 17 people were arrested for the violence on Wednesday. 

Peters said 10 suspects were arrested for being in possession of suspected stolen property, while seven others were arrested for public violence.

Representatives of the taxi industry distanced themselves from the looting, saying there was “no aggression” from them.

“We had planned for a demonstration to highlight some of our issues with the shooting of one of us, and we believe some criminal elements took advantage and exploited our plan to advance their criminal intent,” the SA National Taxi Council's Mack Makata said.

A task team has been formed to quell “tensions” in the Pretoria CBD.

“The taxi industry plays an integral part in the wellbeing of our communities, so when they cry out for police attention, it is important that we respond positively and swiftly, in the best interests of the community,” provincial commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela said.

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