Limpopo taxi organisations bury hatchet, declare war on looting
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Pretoria - Two Limpopo taxi organisations, at loggerheads over routes, have buried the hatchet in an effort to avoid the public violence that has gripped the country.
The Moletjie Taxi Association and the Polokwane-Seshego Taxi Association, from Monday, vowed to defend the Polokwane CBD from would-be looters and any form of destruction of property, in an effort to keep the taxi industry running.
The country has been gripped by mayhem that started in KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday, where protesters closed down the N3 highway and burnt more than 20 trucks after the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma.
The protests have since spread to Gauteng and parts of Mpumalanga.
In Limpopo the situation remained calm, with only one truck and one bus having been torched in Dennilton, Sekhukhune, on Monday night – where police were able to disperse a mob that was planning to loot at Dennilton Mall.
Several malls in the townships and towns closed early, as a precaution to avoid the destruction witnessed in other provinces.
However, the taxi operators assured shop owners and their commuters alike that there would be no violence on their watch.
Speaking to Pretoria News yesterday spokesperson for Moletjie Noko Mokwatedi said the industry, in unison, were not going to allow the destruction taking place elsewhere.
“Limpopo is a rural province. We have poor people who work at these shops that they want to loot. Those same people take our taxis every day so we can be able to make a living ourselves. We have to put our differences aside and stand together to fight these criminals.
“We can’t allow people to come into our province and start disturbing the peace, looting and burning our buildings in the name of Zuma. Once they leave, we will be left with nothing in the province and continue to be poor,” Mokwatedi said.
The taxi operators, together with the community, organised themselves to patrol around the taxi hubs, while others monitor hot spots near malls to alert others once they suspect anything.
Some Limpopo residents have taken to social media to declare their condemnation of the public violence taking place in the two provinces.
“In Limpopo we refuse to join the looting. We will defend our province,” trended on social media.
Premier Stan Mathabatha congratulated the taxi industry and the community for the stance taken against the violence.
He was speaking at post-special executive meeting called to address the public violence after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address on Monday night
“Most of these are identified as purely criminal incidents and the security cluster has information about individuals, across the province who are trying to cause public violence, and they are being attended to in terms of the law. People are urged to avoid fake news coming from social media platforms,” Mathabatha said.
Meanwhile, two of the biggest shopping centres in Polokwane, Savanna Mall and Mall of the North, were closed yesterday for safety reasons as the threat of looting continued to loom large.