Cape Town - Chaos erupted at the Drakenstein Traffic Department this morning after provincial traffic officers impounded taxis which resulted in shooting incident at the department.
SAPS spokesperson FC Van Wyk said that at about 5am on Monday an integrated taxi operation was held between Winelands Cluster and Provincial Traffic departments in the Mbekweni area.
The joint operation was conducted on the closed Paarl/Mbekweni Route B97.
“The provincial traffic officers impounded eight taxis. Other taxi drivers then blockaded Jan van Riebeeck Road and the entrance to the Drakenstein Traffic Department.
“During the impounding of the vehicles it is alleged that a taxi driver attempted to run over a traffic officer, who in turn fired several shots at the vehicle, bringing it to a stop,” Van Wyk said.
He said no one was injured in the incident and four suspects aged between 34 and 58 were arrested. Police later said that one suspect was released afterwards.
“Two attempted murder cases and an assault case was opened against taxi drivers. Investigations continue. The arrested suspects are due to appear in Paarl Magistrates court once charged,” Van Wyk said.
Daylin Mitchell, MEC of Transport and Public Works address the incident saying that “while there has subsequently been relative calm between the two taxi associations that are contesting the route, processes and joint operations have been put in place by an inter-governmental group - led by the SAPS and my department - to ensure that the agreement signed by the parties is monitored and that the closure is strictly enforced”.
“In the meantime, CATA and Codeta affiliated parties have been participating in a formal arbitration process to determine who has rights to operate on Route B97 and other contentious routes in the area.
“This process is nearing completion, with the last hearing having been conducted on Friday 8 October and the Arbitrator now preparing her findings and recommendations for publishing in early November,” Mitchell said.
“We will not tolerate illegal operations on this closed route. Nor will we tolerate attacks on our officers, who are doing their jobs in enforcing this closure. The law will be upheld, and those who break it will be held accountable.”
The Drakenstein municipality has been yet to response to inquiries.