Police tell taxi drivers to stop vigilantism

2016-09-01 15:12
Police have warned taxi drivers against committing acts of vigilantism.

Police have warned taxi drivers against committing acts of vigilantism. (File)

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“Stop your vigilante missions, or we will lock you up.”

That was the warning from police to taxi drivers who are allegedly on a mission to clean up taxi ranks and the eMatsheni Beer Hall in Pietermaritzburg.

This comes as three cases of attempted murder and six of assault GBH were opened after taxi drivers allegedly drove through town, targeting alleged criminals and drug dealers for attacks.

Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese on Wednesday appealed to taxi owners, taxi associations, the municipality and other concerned people to attend a meeting at the Pietermaritzburg central police station at 11 am on September 1 to discuss the matter.

The Witness reported on Wednesday that taxi drivers had allegedly shot three men — aged 18, 21 and 22 — near the beer hall in Retief Street. They also went to the Imbali taxi rank and along Church Street, armed with sjamboks and targeting whoonga dealers who they say are always robbing people at taxi ranks.

Ngobese said the actions of the taxi drivers were “getting out of hand”.

He said police had warned the drivers to stop their vigilante actions, but they had not heeded the call. A meeting had therefore been set up, he said.

“We need to craft a way forward on this together, following the law,” said Ngobese. “We have attempted murder and assault cases open already. We do not want to see cases of murder next.”

One man, who asked not to be named, said while he did not agree with people being shot and sjambokked, criminal activity was rife at the taxi ranks.

“These whoonga addicts are out of control and have invaded the city centre. Something has to be done.”

• Are whoonga addicts and criminals making you feel unsafe at taxi ranks and in the city? How do you think the problem should be dealt with? E-mail newsed@
witness.co.za with your comments.

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