Two taxis have been set alight in separate incidents amid suspected taxi violence in Polokwane, in Limpopo. It’s believed that he Mankweng, Moletjie and Seshego Taxi Associations are fighting over the route to Mall of the North in Polokwane.
The situation is still tense around some of the affected taxi ranks in Polokwane. In one of the incidents, a taxi was burnt on the Dendron road near Seshego, outside Polokwane, while the second one was burnt at Chebeng village, in Seshego, also outside Polokwane.
A private vehicle belonging to a member of the Moletji taxi association was burnt in Polokwane on Thursday.
The driver of the taxi that was burnt at the Dendron-Seshego road is traumatised: “I drive a taxi which operates from Moletjie to town. Drivers from Seshego emerged from the bush and started shooting, they had axes and some motorists manage to escape by running away and I couldn’t. They attacked my taxi and my passengers then escape. They open it and set it alight.”
The spokesperson of the Mankweng Taxi Association, Frans Kgasago, is accusing members of the Seshego association of provoking members of other taxi organisations operating at the Mall of the North taxi rank.
“The issue of taxis started when the Seshego Taxi Association’s drivers came with more than 15 taxis at the mall of the north where they threatened drivers belonging to Mankweng that where then the hell broke loose, the issue here is about loading at the Mall of the North of which all associations have the right to load at Mall of the North.”
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the Seshego Taxi Association, Mosita Lekganyane, says taxis belonging to the Mankweng taxi association are not authorised to load at the Mall of the North to town.
“The conflict is between Seshego, Moletjie and Mankweng Taxi Association. The problem here is the route between the mall to town, so the association that has the authority has the authority to load from the mall to town is Seshego, Flora park and Moletjie so Mankweng taxi association is not allowed to load passengers from the mall to town.”
Transport and Community MEC Mavhungu Leruli Ramakhanya has called for calm and for the taxi associations to involve the department to resolve the problem.
“I want to take this opportunity and condemn the taxi violence we have seen starting to erupt around our province So I am calling upon all taxi member association to say we have invited to come to the drawing board to sit with us and we condemn to the burning of any property and we excepted the police to act upon those that are against the law.”
Soldiers and police have been deployed to monitor the situation.