South Africa

Taxi violence: Nine suspects arrested as three killed people in Eastern Cape shootout

Eastern Cape taxi violence Port St Johns taxi rank shootout

Nearly 10 suspects have been nabbed by the police following the deaths of three people as a result of a taxi violence-related shootout in the Eastern Cape.

The victims were shot at a taxi rank in Port St Johns on Tuesday morning, with three minibus taxis being torched.

Five other people were injured during the incident.

‘Ongoing disagreements’

According to the provincial South African Police Service (Saps), there has been tensions between two rival taxi associations from Port St Johns and Lusikisiki.

“Preliminary reports indicate that this morning (time unknown), two taxi associations were engaged in a shootout at the Port St Johns taxi rank.

“It is further alleged that three security officials from one taxi association from Lusikisiki were fatally injured while five other persons from the Port St Johns side sustained gunshot wounds.

“In the ensuing attack, an 11-year-old boy was hit by a stray bullet and was taken to hospital for treatment. Three vehicles were torched. Multi-disciplinary forces are on the ground,” Eastern Cape police spokesperson Priscilla Naidu said in a brief statement.

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Naidu confirmed that a total of nine suspects have been arrested.

“Police will remain in the area until the situation stabilises,” she continued.

Eastern Cape police commissioner Nomthetheleli Mene has since urged feuding taxi associations to work together and “find amicable solutions to their ongoing disagreements, which are now culminating into tragic violence where lives are been lost”.

Mene vehemently condemned such criminal behaviour.

“Such lawlessness will not be tolerated, as innocent lives are at risk. We immediately call on all stakeholders to come forward and engage in constructive discussions and urgently find a solution so as to avoid further loss of lives,” the provincial commissioner added.

Cop arrested

Meanwhile, a police officer was arrested last week after allegedly shooting a man during a tavern brawl the in Eastern Cape.

The officer and his friend had an argument with the deceased at a tavern in Mount Fletcher.

The disagreement then escalated into a fight, according to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).

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“It is alleged that on 7 January [the constable] and his friend had an argument with Tokoloho Sebaka. The argument escalated into a fight and [the officer] allegedly fired a shot that hit Sebaka in the stomach. Sebaka died later at a hospital.,” Ipid spokesperson Phaladi Shuping said.

The suspect was arrested and appeared in the local magistrate’s court.

His case was postponed to 18 January for a formal bail application and he remains in custody until then.

Additional reporting by Nicholas Zaal