Mamelodi troublemakers will be arrested, vows Makhura

2015-07-05 14:49
Residents gather at the Stanza Bopape Sports Complex in Mamelodi. (News24)

Residents gather at the Stanza Bopape Sports Complex in Mamelodi. (News24)

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Pretoria - Gauteng Premier David Makhura has promised the people of Mamelodi that from Monday there will be stability in the township, following violent protests by minibus taxi owners opposing the introduction of a new bus service in the area.

"Those who want to try and come out and attack the buses, they have something waiting for them in the morning," he told residents at a public meeting on Sunday.

"They will be arrested and they will go to jail. I am not prepared to negotiate with people who are willing to kill others to get their way."

Makhura was speaking to residents following days of violence as minibus taxi owners opposed the operation of Autopax buses in the area. On Friday, a bus was shot at, leaving five people in hospitalised. At least seven buses have been damaged in the protests.

He said government wanted to send a strong message that it would not stand by and watch as the community was terrorised by gun wielding thugs.

"The community itself says they need us to move in and quell the situation. We are ready, we have the courage, we have the will to do that.

"We will find one another with the taxi operators on the issues that have to do with the transformation of the industry. It will sooner than most expect."

Modernisation of public transport

Makhura said the taxi industry must be brought in, in terms of the modernisation of transport.

The premier said the taxi operators had a role to play in ensuring that operations of public transport run smoothly.

"We are saying there is a role for the taxi industry to be brought in. That role can't be by taking up guns and shooting and blocking roads.

"The lessons from Rea Vaya, they know themselves, that will not work. Where they have started, it does not work. We will protect commuters that is our job.

"We will ensure that reasonable taxi industry leaders are there to work with us to find a solution but we have to rid this industry of hooliganism. We have to get rid of guns, illegal firearms in this industry," he said.

"I have made this a priority for the Gauteng government, we are working with KwaZulu-Natal and we know the gun trafficking routes that are used. We must help the taxi industry to clean up the industry."

Army may be deployed

Earlier, Makhura said if need be, the army will be deployed to Mamelodi.

Operation Fiela, involving several government agencies including the police, metro police and Department of Home Affairs, has already started in Mamelodi as government pushes to restore order and stability in the township outside Pretoria, he said.

“We have brought in operation Fiela to clean up the township.

“We were elected by you through ballots, not bullets. We will not be intimidated by those with guns.”

Read more on:    david makhura  |  pretoria  |  transport

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