By JAMES MAHLOKWANE
Chaos similar to that witnessed during the strike by municipal workers a few weeks ago played itself out yet again following a commotion sparked by taxi drivers’ action against drugs in the CBD on Tuesday.
Traffic came to a standstill and just as what happened when municipal workers blocked major intersections with metro buses during the strike, motorists on Tuesday had to find alternative routes to navigate through the heart of the nation’s capital.
Alternative routes meant driving the wrong way down one-way streets, illegal U-turning and basically using any space and corridor they could find in order to get out of the city centre as quickly as possible.
The taxi drivers had confronted drug dealers and buyers near Bloed Street Mall.
The drivers have been at loggerheads with the drug dealers for a while.
An altercation ensued after the dealers and buyers reportedly resisted.
It was at that moment that shots were fired, killing a taxi driver.
The incident infuriated taxi operators, who have been taking strong action against drugs in the CBD.
They hijacked numerous buses and blocked roads.
Tshwane metro police department spokesperson senior superintendent Isaac Mahamba said their members managed to clear the road and remove the buses to relieve traffic.
Roads and Transport MMC Sheila Lynn Senkubuge condemned the violence, which resulted in disruption of public transport operations.
“A shooting which resulted in the death of a taxi driver is reported to have incited the riots.
“The riots led to two A Re Yeng and three Tshwane Bus Services and Gautrain buses as well as two trucks being utilised to blockade the roads.
“A Re Yeng and Tshwane Bus Services operations were halted for the remainder of the day in the interest of safety. A Re Yeng C3 and F5 feeder routes were among the affected public transport routes as riots unfolded in the vicinity of Bloed Mall.
“The affected streets included Sisulu, Boom and Soutpansberg. At the time of this release, ceased buses and trucks were reportedly not damaged,” said Senkubuge.
The MMC said the taking of a human life was never justified and that the perpetrators of this murder and unlawful usage of public transport vehicles to block roads should be punished.
“The City would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused by the disruptions to public transport operations within the CBD,” she said from the scene in the tragedy.
Senkubuge added that the details of the deceased would be communicated after notification of the next of kin and through police platforms.
SAPS spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo said while a case of murder would be opened, investigations had already started looking for the culprit.
“At the moment we don’t have any information about the suspect or suspects, but we are on top of the matter.
“We are, however, also appealing to members of the public to help us catch the person responsible.” He urged people with information to contact the police on 0860 10111.