Maverick Citizen


Police officers come under fire in Mthatha as taxi violence spirals out of control

Police officers come under fire in Mthatha as taxi violence spirals out of control
Scenes from Mthatha, where a violent taxi strike blocked the N2 and R61 roads, 27 May 2024. (Screengrabs: Supplied)

SAPS officers made arrests after being shot at on Monday morning as violence erupted during a taxi blockade of Mthatha in the Eastern Cape.

Five suspects were arrested at around 10 am on Monday in Mthatha after members of the SAPS’ public order policing unit and the Mthatha visible policing unit came under fire as violence during a taxi blockade of Mthatha spiralled out of control.

“Two suspects sustained injuries while the other three were arrested. Two firearms were also confiscated. A case of attempted murder and possession of firearms is opened for further investigation,” police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said.

She said the situation in Mthatha remained tense with many roads coming into and out of Mthatha closed since this morning.

It is understood that members of the Border Taxi Alliance (Bata) are behind the violence that was allegedly triggered by a mass police operation confiscating 53 firearms belonging to its members.

“Currently, the main road, the N2 and the R61, is closed. Motorists are advised to use alternative routes and to avoid these roads. Public Order Policing, the National Intervention Unit and Tactical Response Teams are in Mthatha policing the situation,” Naidu added.


A crime scene near the Shell Ultra City in Mthatha where a senior member of a taxi association’s vehicle came under fire. 27 May 2024. (Photo: Supplied)

Watch here to see a video of security forces deployed in Mthatha.

Provincial Commissioner Lt Gen Nomthetheleli Mene warned those sending videos and messages inciting unrest that they were on the wrong side of the law.

“We will take strict action against anyone found to be engaging in activities that threaten the safety and security of the public and the integrity of the election process,’ she added.

Violence and murder spiral

The violence was allegedly triggered when the police confiscated 53 firearms, including hand weapons and rifles after armed men rocked up at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital to guard their fellow members of one taxi association who were wounded during several shootings last week.

The blockade started early this morning, and by mid-morning, it resembled a war zone. Watch a video on the streets of Mthatha here.

The Eastern Cape Department of Transport shared this video of the operation during which the firearms were confiscated.

It is further understood that a senior member of one of the taxi organisations was gunned down in his Toyota Fortuner vehicle. The incident happened near the Shell Ultra City in Mthatha West on the N2, and the vehicle with the injured man was found in the nearby Chris Hani informal settlement.

One of the vehicles where people were shot. (Screengrab: Supplied)

Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to send the army to stabilise the situation.

“We have mobilised law enforcement agencies to intervene with full might to control the situation in Mthatha. I want to thank the police for acting swiftly on those who wanted to disrupt operations at the Mthatha Airport. I have also requested President Cyril Ramaphosa to assist with deploying the South African National Defence Force in the area. What we will not tolerate are acts of anarchy that include the blocking of national roads and looting of goods from trucks. We have opened our lines for engagement for all parties involved to find an amicable solution to the problem. We call on those causing these disruptions to refrain from such immediately,” Mabuyane said.

Meanwhile, the mayor of the OR Tambo Regional Municipality, Mesuli Ngqondwana, called for calm.

Ngqondwana said his utmost concern is the safety of motorists, truck drivers, pedestrians and passengers stuck for hours in the blockaded areas.

“Authorities are doing their best to facilitate a discussion aimed at resolving the matter without further harm to property and persons,” emphasised the Executive Mayor.

He added that he strongly condemns any violence or disruptions during this time.

“Our district must remain a place of peace, safety, and stability,” he said.

A truck with EFF voters’ rolls and t-shirts was among the vehicles looted. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    Follow the money ,this is all about money,people die because of money wars

  • Random Comment says:

    Must be the “third force” at work, again [eyeroll]

  • Katharine Ambrose says:

    This is the same Eastern Cape police force that did little to quell taxi violence and threats against the bus companies. The fact that the taxi community is full of gun toting thugs has been known to everyone for years. The fallout now is that they may become a threat to the elections.

  • Patterson Alan John says:

    When I lived in Mthatha (Umtata) from 1990 to 1993, taxis paid bribes to the police, shot at one another and set vehicles alight. The police lost investigation dockets, were disinterested in complaints, did not have vehicles to attend sites that reported issues, did not have pens at the police station to write statements, ‘lost’ cases of automatic weapons from the police armoury and I have personal experience of intimidatory attitudes towards the Europeans working there. That was part of the picture which convinced us that this would also be the future of SA in the years ahead.
    From this report, the situation has simply got worse.

  • Denise Smit says:

    What is a EFF voters roll?

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


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