Police crack down on Mpumalanga taxi violence

2008-07-17 00:00

More than 200 police officers were deployed to Mpumalanga township yesterday to defuse taxi violence that has claimed the lives of six people in the area recently.

Members of the SAPS, RTI, Operation Shanela and Metro Police were deployed at the main taxi rank in the area, at several intersections and at exit roads.

Commuters were delayed getting to work as the police entered the taxi rank and closed all the exits to check operating licences for the minibus taxis.

Transport MEC Bheki Cele apologised to commuters for the inconvenience, but said the police were there to protect them. He said the decision to intensify security was taken after six people were killed.

“Legal taxi operators were displaced with guns by other people who do not have permits and as lawmakers, we are here to ensure that does not happen. All vehicles that do not have permits will be impounded.”

KZN public and freight transport general manager Simo Chamane headed the team of traffic officers checking permits. More than 30 minibus taxis were impounded, one found with a fraudulent licensing disk and 19 suspended for failing to be roadworthy.

Cele said police will continue to monitor the situation in the township and enforce the law.

He said one suspect was arrested in connection with the killings. A task team has been set up to investigate the murders.

During the operation, two drivers were arrested for drunken driving.

sandilez@witness.co.za

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