WATCH: Taxi drivers shoot into the air during cleansing ceremony near Eastgate

2019-03-27 20:21
Bystanders gather at the scene of the taxi violence on Chota Motala Street in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

Bystanders gather at the scene of the taxi violence on Chota Motala Street in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

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Two Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officers stood by and watched when a group of taxi drivers fired a hail of bullets in the air scaring motorists near Eastgate, Johannesburg.

The taxi drivers were accompanying the family of one of the two taxi owners who had been gunned in Bedfordview on Sunday.

ln some cultures, when a person dies, close relatives visit the scene to "take" the spirit of the deceased to its resting place.

READ: 2 men killed, 1 wounded during suspected taxi-related shooting in Bedfordview

However, this was not the case at the intersection of Allum Road and Cumberland Street on Wednesday.

Guns of different calibres were fired, sending a hail of bullets into the air.

JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said two of their officers were blocking traffic lanes for a cleansing ceremony just before 13:00 on Allum Road and Cumberland Street, near Eastgate.

"The ceremony was held by the family of a taxi owner who was killed there recently. Other taxi drivers unexpectedly started firing shots into the air. These drivers were attending the cultural ritual. No arrests were made and the JMPD does not condone the shooting. This incident is, however, being investigated by the SAPS (SA Police Service) officers who arrived on the scene soon after the shooting," Minnaar said.

He referred News24 to the SAPS when he was asked why the JMPD didn't act when the shooting and said the officers were only controlling traffic.

Gauteng police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo said none of their members were present during the shooting.

However, they were investigating the incident and their members were on the scene to collect evidence.

"Our investigations will determine which guns were used. Discharging of a firearm in a public space is criminal offence. Whether the firearm is licensed or not, it remains an offence," he said.

ALSO READ: They were sent from Ladysmith to kill him – Ladysmith taxi war spills over to Bedfordview

Chairman of Gun Owners SA Paul Oxley, said the incident was "totally" against the law.

"What happened is totally wrong and serious actions must be taken against the men who fired their weapons in the air. It is worrying that metro officers were on standby as the men fired their guns. Police management have been recently telling the country that they are doing everything to fight crime but their officers were spectators when a criminal offence was being committed.

"What happened is ridiculous from what police management are preaching to the nation. Innocent people were in the vicinity where guns were fired randomly and they could have been seriously injured," he said.

Oxley said many gun owners have a belief that when you fire a bullet in the air, it will disappear.

"What they don't know is that the bullet comes down with the same velocity it exited the weapon with. It then becomes extremely dangerous to those who are in the vicinity of the person firing the gun."

"It is very disappointing for JMPD officers who stood and watched. The JMPD has the same rights as SAPS members to arrest suspects. In this instance, they failed to act. If this unlawful behaviour continues, everyone who has a gun will just shoot randomly in the air. Even a man having a braai at his home will take his gun and open fire thinking it is legal to do so," said Oxley.

Read more on:    saps  |  jmpd  |  wayne minnaar  |  paul oxley  |  mavela masondo  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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