Calm returns to Gqeberha after a day of violence between Somalis and taxi drivers

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The taxis that were torched in Korsten on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Cara-Lee Dorfling/Netwerk24
The taxis that were torched in Korsten on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Cara-Lee Dorfling/Netwerk24

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The usually bustling Durban Road in Korsten township, Gqeberha, resembles a ghost town – a total contrast to the war zone it was Wednesday afternoon, when Somali nationals clashed with taxi drivers, following an incident of road rage that saw eight taxis, one vehicle and a shop burnt to ashes.

READWATCH | Chaos in Gqeberha as several minibus taxis, 2 cars set alight

This morning, palpable tension and an atmosphere of uneasiness reigns in Korsten, normally a busy district, with its streets crowded with vendors selling their wares.

About 90% of the businesses in the area are owned by Somalis.

An accident between an Audi and a taxi in Korsten
An accident between an on Wednesday resulted in taxi violence. Photo: Supplied/PE Express
There was high police visibility in Korsten following the violence. Photo: Cara-Lee Dorfling/Netwerk24
There was high police visibility in Korsten following the violence. Photo: Cara-Lee Dorfling/Netwerk24
The vehicle of a bystander was torched during the violence on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Cara-Lee Dorfling/Netwerk24
The vehicle of a bystander was torched during the violence on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Cara-Lee Dorfling/Netwerk24

On a normal day, one can hardly negotiate one’s way through the pavements, as all types of wares, ranging from vegetables to cellphones, are spread on the pavements.

The violence spread last night to the townships where three Somali-owned spaza shops, two in Kwazakhele and one in Zwide, were gutted as residents vented their anger.

The clashes started on Durban Road, Korsten, late yesterday afternoon after a Somali-driven Audi was involved in an accident with a taxi.

A fight between the two drivers ensued, resulting in the Somali hastily driving off. However, his car stalled a few metres away and was followed by the taxi driver who had mobilised his fellow drivers.

READEight buses gutted in blaze amid protest action in Gqeberha

They burnt the Audi and started assaulting the Somali. His countrymen joined in to rescue him and all hell broke loose.

Eight taxis were burnt to ashes as the Somalis fought back, some brandishing weapons. A Somali shop was also gutted in Durban Road.

Today, police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu told City Press that the situation was still volatile.

“Police have opened a case of public violence and to date no arrests have been made. The situation is still tense and police are on high alert and will remain in the area, monitoring the situation.”

Police minister Bheki Cele visited Korsten on Thursday. Photo: Cara-Lee Dorfling/Netwerk24
Police minister Bheki Cele visited Korsten on Thursday. Photo: Cara-Lee Dorfling/Netwerk24

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