Security beefed up in Pretoria following violent protests

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Shops are burnt and looted in the Pretoria CBD. (Alex Mitchley, News24)
Shops are burnt and looted in the Pretoria CBD. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

Security has been beefed up in Pretoria following widespread rioting and looting on Wednesday.

The capital came to a standstill after thousands of taxis blocked several roads in the CBD to protest the killing of one of their colleagues.

Buildings were set alight, widespread looting occurred and streets blockaded during a protest by taxi operators.

The City of Tshwane confirmed the riots were the result of the taxi driver's death on Tuesday - he was shot dead near the Bloed long distance taxi rank in Pretoria.

The Sowetan reported taxi operators had found people, suspected to be police officers, allegedly involved in the selling of drugs on Tuesday.

Taxi operators then used buses to block traffic to "deal" with the nyaope boys. 

WATCH | Widespread destruction in Pretoria CBD after protest descends into looting spree

Gauteng Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo and provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela met with the City and representatives of the taxi industry in Tshwane on Wednesday.

The police and Tshwane Metro Police Department have since intensified deployments and will maintain a presence in the CBD to ensure no further incidents occur.

Meanwhile, 10 people were arrested for the possession of suspected stolen property, while seven others were held for public violence.

Taxi industry representatives have distanced themselves from the incidents of looting that took place in the Pretoria CBD, and reiterated, on behalf of their operators, there was no aggression on their part.

South African National Taxi Council representative Mack Makata said the council "had planned for a demonstration to highlight some of the issues with the shooting of one of its members".

Criminal elements took advantage

Mataka added they believed some criminal elements had taken advantage of the situation to advance their criminal intent.

Mawela said the police would look into the allegations and assured the taxi industry that feedback would be given shortly.

"The taxi industry plays an integral part in the well-being of our communities so when they cry out for police attention, it is important that we respond positively and swiftly, in the best interests of the community," he added.

Mamabolo urged the police to prioritise the investigation of the murder case.

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