Police and soldiers deployed to quell violence in Mthatha

Police remained on high alert monitoring Mthatha as the area remained tense due to taxi-related incidents.

Police remained on high alert monitoring Mthatha as the area remained tense due to taxi-related incidents.

Published May 27, 2024


The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoints) is deploying additional police who will be backed by the army in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, to quell a violent taxi strike.

Police remained on high alert monitoring Mthatha as the area remained tense due to taxi-related incidents which started last week and escalated on Monday with many roads including the N2 and the R61 closed with reportedly hijacked trucks.

Five suspects were arrested at about 9am after shots were fired allegedly at Public Order Policing and Mthatha Vispol members.

Eastern Cape police spokesperson Priscilla Naidu said two suspects were wounded while the other three were arrested.

“Two firearms were also confiscated. A case of attempted murder and possession of firearms is opened for further investigation.

“Public Order Policing, the National Intervention Unit and Tactical Response Teams are in Mthatha policing the situation,” she said.

The provincial Health Department confirmed that services have been affected in hospitals in and around the town.

“Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital, Mthatha Regional and St Barnabas Hospital staff, who worked the night shift, could not go home, while those who were supposed to report for duty could not get to work because of the blocked roads.”

Provincial police commissioner Nomthetheleli Mene has since issued a stern warning to those circulating videos and messages that appear to incite unrest.

“Such actions are not only irresponsible but also illegal. We will take strict action against anyone found to be engaging in activities that threaten the safety and security of the public and the integrity of the election process,” said Mene.

NatJoints co-chairperson Tebello Mosikili and national police commissioner Fannie Masemola attended the sending off parade in Harrismith of police officers who will boost deployments to ensure safety and security tomorrow in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal after a series of events on Sunday night where a group of armed robbers left a trail of destruction.

— Lirandzu Themba (@LirandzuThemba) May 27, 2024

“You must be there to join your colleagues and make sure elections run smoothly and people can travel on the road. Remove things obstructing the roads, create peace and stable environments. You’re not there to negotiate while public roads are closed or crime is committed. Defend your colleagues, yourselves and our communities,” said Masemola.

Mosikili said as NatJoints they made a commitment during a briefing on Sunday that they are “in control and in charge”.

“It is time now to show that. Unfortunately, we are faced with a situation where we have been made to move faster than expected because of incidents last night and this morning,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Border Management Authority says it has further tightened its detection systems at the ports of entry after an operation at the OR Tambo International Airport found 27 Bangladeshis to be in possession of fraudulent visas and one Bangladeshi did not have any visa.

Commissioner Michael Masiapato said the travellers were in contravention of the South African Immigration Act by possessing fraudulent travel documents.

“I commend the diligent efforts of our immigration officers in intercepting the Bangladesh nationals. The BMA’s vigilance and commitment to maintaining the integrity of our immigration system is exemplary. This operation underscores the importance of our continuous efforts to secure our borders and ensure that all entrants comply with our legal requirements,” he said.

Cape Times