Pinetown simmers

2014-08-01 00:00

ROLLING battles between police and minibus taxi drivers continued in Pinetown yesterday.

Tensions simmered as squads of Metro Police officers continued with their law enforcement campaign, which saw roadblocks set up on major taxi routes.

The crackdown saw a violent backlash from taxi drivers who blockaded roads and looted shops in the central business district on Wednesday.

A quiet stand-off between officers and drivers continued at several taxi ranks in Pinetown yesterday.

While officers patrolled the main taxi rank, a platoon of men thought to be taxi drivers had marched along the M13 and are alleged to have stoned taxis travelling towards the city.

In response, riot police fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets to disperse the group and managed to arrest one of the men.

He was detained on charges of public violence.

On Monday, 12 people were injured when riot police stormed a taxi rank that was occupied by irate drivers. The men had set fire to tyres and thrown stones at police officers who had attempted to disperse them.

Metro Police spokesperson Superintendent Eugene Msomi said their crackdown had ended.

“This operation moves from area to area and now all of the activity in Pinetown has drawn to a close. Officers will now be deployed in other areas of the city,” he said.

Acting MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Sibongiseni Dhlomo strongly condemned the turmoil.

He warned operators against unruly behaviour and potentially attempting to destabilise the industry. “According to our records, there are no legitimate complaints from operators in Pinetown. We believe this chaos is caused by illegal operators who do not have operating licences. The Metro Police are well within their duty to arrest any taxi operator who does not have the necessary documentation,” he said.

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