11 suspects in E Cape taxi war released before appearing in court

The 11 suspects arrested in relation to the Eastern Cape taxi war have been released before a court appearance.

This was revealed by the South African National Taxi Council in Eastern Cape (Santaco) after claiming unity amongst the two associations after the brutal war that resulted in bloodshed.

The shootout between the Port St Johns Taxi Association and Ncedo Taxi Association put the town on standstill. The police had reported at least three deaths and injuries, including an 11-year-old hit by a stray bullet.

Bishop Yolelo, Santaco Eastern Cape chairperson, told Sunday World that he was informed after a meeting with the two associations that the suspects were set free.

He explained that the two associations battled over where Mtambalala Administrative Area belonged, with both claiming that it was their rightful route.

With aim to end the taxi war, they called a meeting meant to ensure that a similar incident would never happen again under their watch.

“When you pin the area geographically, it appears under Lusikisiki but the municipality board shows that Mtambalala Administrative Area belongs to Port St Johns. This was the main reason behind the war we all saw last week.

“But in the meeting we discussed the matter and concluded that both taxi associations should operate from the location,” said Yolelo.

Yolelo said Santaco was deeply saddened by the taxi war that affected the public, emphasising that they believed in public protection from any misunderstanding in the taxi industry.

Case not enrolled in court due to insufficient evidence

The police confiscated 15 firearms including pistols, AK-47s, 328 rounds of ammunition, shotguns and rifles as per statement after the incident.

Eastern Cape police spokesperson Siphokazi Mawisa confirmed to Sunday World that the firearms were lawful but would still be taken for ballistic testing.

“The case against eleven (11) suspects was not enrolled in court due to insufficient evidence and the suspects were subsequently released.

“A team of detectives from the Provincial Organised Crime Investigation are investigating the cases and the investigation is ongoing. The police are requesting that the team be given space to work on the investigation and any further progress will be communicated,” said Mawisa.

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