Rustenburg - Afternoon rush hour traffic was interrupted in Rustenburg on Monday, when minibus taxi drivers shut down the roads, North West police said.
Taxi drivers from the Boitekong and Meriting Taxi Association (Bamta) allegedly refused to transport people and blocked the road, this was after two of them were arrested for beating up nyaope addicts and gang members accused of killing a taxi driver in Boitekong.
North West police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said the two drivers were arrested for public violence and malicious damage to property. They allegedly damaged police vehicle when the police intervened to rescue boys, the taxi drivers were assaulting.
People ran into shops as rubber bullets flew and the drama unfolded at the taxi ranks. Shops were forced to close early, exit points at the taxi rank and bus rank were closed.
Taxi drivers allegedly squared up with SVK gang members and nyaope addicts in an apparent revenge attack.
Social media was flooded with comments slamming the police and supporting taxi drivers.
One commend read: " Ake tsebe maphodisa y bale against taxi drivers cause ba ba fokolletsa spane [I do not know why the police are against taxi drivers because they make their [police] job easier]".
"Its about time kgale retshwarwa pooo [It is about time, we have been mugged for a long time]".
Eyewitnesses said one of the boys was beaten and paraded naked by the taxi drivers who were wielding knobkerries demanding that he lead them to the drug dealer who fed him drugs.
"He was bleeding, his back was slashed with a sjambok...I am not sure that boy will make it," said a woman who did not want to be identified.
"It was a terrible sight."
People residing in Ramochana, Paardekraal, Sunrise Park, Boitekong and Meriting walked home as there was no transport for them, while those travelling to far areas waited in taxis until the road was cleared around 6pm.
African News Agency/ANA