Johannesburg – Shoppers at Maponya Mall on Friday morning were met with shocking scenes of burnt cars.
A man with a bandaged head told anyone who cared to listen that he left his e-hailing car at the shopping centre on Thursday after he was attacked and robbed of his wallet by a group of violent men.
He said the assailants – at least one who had a gun – took his keys before he managed to run away.
Three cars were torched at the shopping mall.
Commenting on the violence on Friday, Gauteng Transport and Logistics MEC Kedibone Diale-Tlabela “strongly condemned the attacks on e-hailing drivers and burning of cars at Maponya Mall in Soweto on Thursday”.
The mayhem follows an alleged confrontation between minibus taxi drivers and e-hailing drivers.
“It is alleged that minibus taxi drivers attacked e-hailing operator drivers and burnt three vehicles and damaged four others at Maponya Mall parking area,” said the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport.
“Two of the burned vehicles are said to have belonged to an e-hailing operator while one belonged to a private person,”
Three people were rushed to hospital following the incident with one of them having sustained injuries following a shooting incident allegedly by minibus taxi drivers.
“We would like to strongly condemn these senseless attacks on individuals and damage to vehicles. These acts are unacceptable and must be dealt with harshly,” MEC Diale-Tlabela said.
“We will not be deterred from building an integrated and modernised public transport system by individuals who use intimidation and violence to put their message across.
“We wish those injured a speedy recovery and call on law enforcement officials to work around the clock to apprehend those who were involved in these barbaric attacks.
“They should face the full might of the law.”
MEC Diale-Tlabela said that the Department of Roads and Transport has made significant strides to root out violence in the public transport sector following the 2019 Gauteng Taxi Summit and in line with the recommendations of the Taxi Violence Commission.
“Following the recommendations of the Taxi Violence Commission, amendments were made to the Gauteng Public Transport Regulations Entity 2011, to introduce Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism within the public transport service industry, putting government at the forefront in resolving taxi disputes and promote stability in the province,” MEC Diale-Tlabela said.
“We call on all public transport operators to make use of the Arbitration Office to resolve their disputes.”
The police said they were investigating a case of attempted murder and malicious damage to property “following a fight between minibus taxi drivers and few drivers believed to be e-hailers at Maponya Mall”.
“Three vehicles were torched and the owners were assaulted and one of them shot. All three victims were taken to a local hospital,” said Colonel Dimakatso Nevhuhulwi
“Four more vehicles were also damaged. At this stage the police cannot confirm the identity of the victims and whether they are indeed e-hailing drivers pending an investigation.
“No suspects are arrested as yet. The police maintain a presence in that area to ensure stability and safety for the commuters.”