Saturday, August 31, 2019

Cops Keep a Close Watch Over Pretoria Following Violent Riots and Looting
The chaos in Pretoria was linked to a fracas on Tuesday, where a taxi operator was fatally shot near the Bloed Street long distance taxi rank.

(ANA) African News Agency
2019-08-29 06:31

Shopfronts burn in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. Police fired rubber bullets as protests erupted in the central business district of South Africa's capitol Pretoria with rioters setting several small businesses in the area alight. The Sowetan newspaper said the chaos broke out Wednesday after local taxi drivers clashed with drug dealers operating in the area. (AP Photo/Yeshiel Panchia)

Gauteng public transport and roads MEC Jacob Mamabolo together with provincial commissioner of police, Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela on Wednesday met City of Tshwane and representatives of the taxi industry in Pretoria amidst a wave of violence and looting in the capital city.

The chaos in Pretoria was linked to a fracas on Tuesday, where a taxi operator was fatally shot near the Bloed Street long distance taxi rank.

“The taxi industry representatives tabled and raised what both the MEC [Mamabolo] and provincial commissioner [Mawela] believe are genuine concerns, which require urgent attention to ensure safety and security in the space in which they operate,” said Gauteng police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters.

“The South African Police Service and the Tshwane Metro Police Department have since intensified deployments and will maintain a presence in the CBD to ensure that no further incidents of criminality recur.

“In the meantime, 10 suspects have been arrested for possession of suspected stolen property, while an additional seven have been arrested for public violence.”

What sparked the Pretoria riots?

She said at the meeting on Wednesday, the taxi industry representatives distanced themselves from the incidents of looting that took place in the Pretoria CBD.

Instead, the taxi operators representatives insisted there was no aggression on their part. 

“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,” South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) representative Mack Makata said.

Mawela made a commitment that police would look into the allegations and assured the taxi industry that they would receive feedback in due course.

“The taxi industry plays an integral part in the well-being 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,” he said.

Mamabolo extended his condolences to the family and colleagues of the taxi operator who died on Tuesday evening, during the violence engulfing Pretoria. He urged police to prioritise the investigation of the murder case and bring the perpetrators to book.

On Wednesday, chaos continued in the Pretoria CBD for a second consecutive day as taxi operators torched stores owned by foreign nationals who they accuse of peddling drugs.

The taxi operators’ anger was exacerbated after a Nigerian national allegedly shot and killed a taxi driver on Tuesday.

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