Santaco calls for peace after boy, 11 is injured during shootout

The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) has condemned the ongoing taxi violence in the Eastern Cape and vowed to broker peace.

Taxi violence shootout

This after an 11-year-old was shot and injured in a shootout during the taxi violence incident. The shootout involved the Port St. Johns Taxi Association and Ncedo Taxi Association from Lusikisiki branch at Port St Johns taxi rank. Eleven suspects have arrested for the Tuesday morning incident.

The 11-year-old was shot by a stray bullet, and is receiving treatment at the hospital.

A group of armed men stormed the taxi rank and started shooting. In the aftermath, the boy, together with rival taxi members, lay injured. Vehicles were also set alight. The dramatic incident resulted in the closure of businesses in the area, leaving the streets deserted.  

Eastern Cape Santaco chairperson, Bishop Zola Yolelo, said they will exhaust all efforts to ensure that the province was safe from taxi violence.

Resolution to end violence, foster peace

He said this kind of violence, especially putting members of the public at risk, was the last in the province. This is because they aimed at ensuring safety and unity in the taxi industry.

“As the leadership of Santaco in the Eastern Cape, we are saddened by the violence which took place at Port St. Johns. We would like to apologise to the people who experienced that unfortunate incident,” said Yolelo.

He said details of the incident were sketchy as the police were still investigating the matter.

It is alleged that the Ncedo Taxi Association stormed at the rank and started shooting. One of the bullets hit an 11-year-old boy, who was rushed to hospital.

“We can assure members of the public that the leaders of Santaco in the Eastern Cape and the provincial transport department are working together to find a resolution between the two conflicting associations,” Yolelo said.

Suspects arrested, police on high alert

“We are committing, we will suppress any element of taxi violence in our public roads and in our homes. I am appealing to everyone, every member of the public to accept our apology. We are with them, we will always be with them.”

Eastern Cape police spokesperson Priscilla Naidu confirmed that 11 suspects have been arrested in relation to the shooting.

She said multi-disciplinary forces were still on the ground in Lusikisiki and Port St. Johns, and will remain until the situation neutralises.

“The arrested suspects are being detained on charges of murder, attempted murder, malicious damage to property, discharging firearms in a built-up municipal area and public violence.

Ammunition recovered

“A total of 15 firearms including pistols, AK 47s, shotguns and rifles as well as 328 rounds of ammunition were also recovered,” said Naidu.

Reports were that three people were shot dead, while five others sustained gunshot wounds.

According to Naidu, three security officials from Ncedo Taxi Association were fatally injured, while five more people from the Port St Johns Taxi Association were also fatally injured.

At least three vehicles were set alight.

She said the suspects will appear at Port St Johns magistrate’s court, but the date is yet to be confirmed.

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