JOHANNESBURG – Three suspects have been arrested in Soweto after violence flared up due to a dispute between two taxi associations.
Police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubela said the trio were arrested for being possession of illegal firearm and ammunition.
The dispute left commuters in limbo on Tuesday morning with police confirming reports of shooting in the area.
The rivalry between Witwatersrand African Taxi owners Association (Wata) and the Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association (Nanduwe) has reached boiling point.
Taxi operators halted services on Monday afternoon in Soweto with commuters being forced off taxis and told to find alternative transport to their destinations.
Commuters fear for their lives as WATAJTA & NANDUWE continue their fight over routes. Both associations have halted their services. M.M pic.twitter.com/YSTX82SWPZ— Jozi FM (@jozifm) June 6, 2017
Wata spokesperson George Maphalala told local radio station Power FM that the decision to halt operations is in the best interest of passengers.
“They [the drivers] were hit by stones, [and] shot by guns [sic]. Since yesterday afternoon, they decided to stop operating and find out why they are being shot, why they are being killed, [and] why they are being attacked,” Maphalala said.
“We are trying to resolve the matter… We are trying to protect them [passengers].”
Commuters mainly in the areas of Orlando, Dube, Rockville, Mofolo, Zola, Naledi Jabulani and Emdeni were left stranded with no taxis operating.
The dispute has also affected traffic in Soweto with the road from the Soweto Highway towards CBD going at a snail pace.
Meanwhile, ReaVaya said buses in Soweto may be delayed due to the taxi protest.
Power Fm has also reported that commuters around Zola, Naledi and Mndeni have been left stranded this morning.— Lindokuhle Xulu (@LindokuhlXulu1) June 6, 2017
Soweto #TaxiStrike seems to be affecting people going to work. Many taxi points around Dobsonville have long queues and no sight of taxies.— Lindokuhle Xulu (@LindokuhlXulu1) June 6, 2017
Local taxies around Donsonville to Bara were not picking up commuters yesterday because of alleged shooting around Zola. #TaxiStrike— Lindokuhle Xulu (@LindokuhlXulu1) June 6, 2017