Six in court after taxi dispute shootout

2018-06-06 06:01
Masukwana Rank after the shoot out.PHOTOS: lethiwe makhanya

Masukwana Rank after the shoot out.PHOTOS: lethiwe makhanya

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SIX people have been arrested and appeared briefly in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday in connection with the shootout that occurred at the Masukwana Taxi Rank on June 1 which left one person dead.

Thembinkosi Vezi, Mzokhona Goge, Siboniso Cele, Thembinkosi Mchunu, Sandile Madiba and Andreas Poswa are facing 22 charges — one for the murder of a bystander Thulasizwe Ngubane, six charges of attempted murder, four of malicious injury to property, one for the discharge of firearm in a built-up area and 10 for the negligent use of a firearm.

The unrest erupted following an ongoing feud over travel routes between the Pietermaritzburg Long Distance Association and Howick’s Zimisele Taxi Association.

Long Distance operators claim that they do not want Howick operators to service the Pietermaritzburg area because they (Howick) do not have operating permit.

The Pietermaritzburg Long Distance Association began protests early on Friday morning by blocking access to Boshoff Street following an argument between themselves and a security company linked to the Howick Taxi Association.

It is alleged that the security guards then went to the Masukwana Taxi Rank where they fired shots.

Passengers were left stranded as the rank was closed for the remainder of Friday and a security company’s car was also torched.

South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) spokesperson in Pietermaritzburg, Bheki Sokhela, said operations are back to normal at the Masukwana Taxi Rank although no agreement has been reached.

“We believe that if there is a problem it can be resolved without violence.

“We were shocked with what happend at the Masukwana rank because the issue of taxi routes is in court.

“We need to let the court make a judgement and we trust that justice will be served,” Sokhela said.

MEC for Transport in KwaZulu-Natal, Mxolisi Kaunda, visited the scene on Friday and had a meeting with both associations.

The six men are being kept in custody pending their bail application.

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