eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo File photo: Siyanda Mayeza

Durban - Ethekwini mayor James Nxumalo on Thursday ordered that metro police stop their operations against taxi drivers in Pinetown, to prevent further riots.

Nxumalo's order follows protests on Wednesday during which one person was shot and scores treated for teargas inhalation.

Nxumalo met taxi drivers on a soccer field near where the clashes had taken place.

Speaking after meeting taxi drivers and owners, Nxumalo said the operation the eThekwini metro police had been carrying out in Pinetown had been suspended pending the outcome of discussions with metro police management and taxi bosses.

Nxumalo denied he would be seen as allowing the lawlessness of taxi drivers to continue.

“We need to understand the situation is volatile and therefore there is a serious confrontation between the metro police and the taxi drivers. Therefore we need to go back and suspend the operation until the situation is under control.”

He said the municipality would engage with the taxi industry, letting them know the metro police needed to carry out their work.

Ethekwini metro police spokesman Superintendent Eugene Msomi said on Monday that police had been carrying out law enforcement duties in Pinetown.

“The next thing was there were a lot of them. They tried to protest and a stand-off ensued. One of the protesters tried to grab an officer's weapon and he was shot.”

Msomi said the SA Police Service public order policing unit was called in. The man was not fatally shot, according to Msomi.

Robert Mckenzie, spokesman for provincial emergency medical rescue services, said at least 12 people were taken to various hospitals and clinics. A number were treated on the scene for teargas inhalation.

Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said they were investigating a case of public violence and attempted murder. No arrests had been made.