The affordable education loan option
Johannesburg - Nigel Green was on his way to work on Tuesday morning when the police and suspected baddies went screeching past him on the M1 South from Pretoria to Joburg.
Police cars and a helicopter overhead were exchanging fire with two men in a white taxi.
“Geez, it was like World War III,” Green said.
The police finally caught up with the suspects on a portion of the highway between the Joe Slovo and Houghton off-ramps.
One suspect escaped on foot, while the other, who had been shot in the leg, was arrested.
The area was still completely cordoned off late on Tuesday afternoon, causing massive delays.
“If we suspect a crime is being committed, that is how we respond,” said SAPS spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini.
He said police believed the men were linked to several instances of taxi violence, but had not directly linked them to any crimes.
Dlamini said that around 9am on Tuesday, members of the Flying Squad and Tactical Response Unit confronted the two people who were involved in a “commotion” at the Bosman taxi rank in central Pretoria, involving the “shaking and banging of a vehicle”.
“On approaching the vehicle, it sped off and a chase ensued. Police officers summoned back-up vehicles, including (a chopper). When the chopper joined the chase on the M1 South, the occupants of the vehicle fired shots at the police vehicle, and police returned fire.
“At the Joe Slovo off-ramp, the suspects’ vehicle stopped and the occupants jumped out. The driver of the vehicle was shot in the upper leg and the other managed to run away,” he said.
Two construction workers who were on a site overlooking the scene told The Star they heard more than five minutes of gunfire exchanged between the police and the men in the minibus.
Dlamini said the driver would be charged with attempted murder and malicious damage to property.
He said nothing suspicious was recovered from the vehicle and it was believed that the second person escaped with a firearm.
On Tuesday afternoon, police were still hunting for the escaped driver.
“It is suspected that he is the one who fired shots at the police,” he said.
Bafana Magagula, deputy secretary of the SA National Taxi Council, said they would be launching their own investigation. He said business had continued as normal at the Bosman taxi rank on Tuesday.
“We are experiencing some violence here and there, but at this point it’s difficult to judge if it is increasing,” he said.
In July, a fight between the Tembisa Taxi Association and the Olievenhoutbosch Taxi Association in Pretoria led to four people being injured, and 10 were arrested.
Last month, five people were shot in suspected taxi-related violence in and around Joburg in a single week.
When The Star’s sister newspaper, the Pretoria News, visited the taxi rank on Bosman Street around 1.30pm on Tuesday, it appeared to be business as usual - at least on the surface.
But when the reporter and photographer started asking questions, they were firmly but politely asked to leave.
One man said the rank was dangerous and advised the Pretoria News to “get out”, because this place is “f***ed up”.
At the Joburg section of the rank, heavily armed men believed to be taxi drivers with rifles and bulletproof vests sat against a wall.
email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org