Taxi drivers blocked all vehicles from leaving the PAC conference venue at the Mdala Environmental Centre in Mpumalanga by parking three minibus taxis at the entrance. Picture: Balise Mabona/ANA

Kwamhlanga - Scuffles erupted at the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania's policy conference in Mpumalanga on Sunday afternoon when minibus taxi drivers stopped all vehicles from leaving the conference venue and demanded payment from the PAC for transporting its members to the conference.

This followed shortly after PAC secretary-general Narius Moloto was elected as the PAC's new president at the Mdala Environmental Centre near KwaMhlanga.

Three taxi drivers blockaded the parking area at the venue with three minibus taxis. Moloto, several PAC leaders, journalists, and about 3 000 PAC members were trapped inside the venue.

PAC national spokesman Kenneth Mokgatlhe told the African News Agency (ANA) that the three drivers were demanding R6 000 "upfront" from the PAC. He said the money they were demanding was part of the payment for transporting PAC members from Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg, to the conference venue.

Picture: ANA/Balise Mabona/ANA

“Yesterday [Saturday] we paid the owner of these taxis R18 000. We also deposited R6 000 to his bank account later the same day and showed him proof of payment. This second payment has not yet reflected on his bank account and his drivers are demanding it now,” said Mokgatlhe.

Moloto managed to leave an hour later after a group of PAC members stood guard next to the minibuses and enabled him to squeeze his car out of the premises from the right hand side of the gate. This resulted in a scuffle and one taxi driver fell to the ground during a physical confrontations with PAC members.

The gate was eventually opened another hour later following protracted talks between the taxi drivers and the PAC leadership. “This problem was caused by a lack of communication and we condemn these physical confrontations,” said Mokgatlhe.

African News Agency/ANA