The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Bheki Ntuli has assigned a high-level team from the department’s public transport unit to intervene following a shootout at the Mandeni taxi rank, on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, last Wednesday night.
Two people were killed and 12 others injured in a shootout between the Nembe-Macambini Taxi Association and a group of illegal taxi operators, according to the department.
The conflict is believed to be around the contestation of an “illegal” taxi rank and illegal taxi operations.
Following consultations between the Department of Transport and the Mandeni local municipality, a decision was taken to close down the illegal taxi rank as part of enforcing regulations and ensuring compliance with the law.
All legal operators were directed to return to the main rank and stop all operations from the illegal rank as this was exacerbating conflict. The MEC described the situation as “totally deplorable” and called on taxi operators to “desist from violent tactics”.
“I have deployed a team comprising of SAPS [South African Police Service] and officials from the Department of Transport to urgently attend to this matter.
“The department has been dealing with the situation at Mandeni for the past few years and we are of a view that drastic decisions within the confines of the law will have to be taken to save innocent commuters. Already police deployments and operations have been intensified in the area and investigations are underway,” said Ntuli.
He said further engagements would be undertaken this week.