Shootout near Tshwane District Hospital linked to taxi violence
Pretoria - Police have dismissed speculation that taxi violence was on the rise in the city despite a shooting linked to the sector that left a man dead near Tshwane District Hospital yesterday.
Nine people were arrested and two others placed under police guard in hospital last night. Three police officers were wounded in the shootout.
The incident took place on Dr Savage Street in front of the Pathological Services gates. It was the second incident linked to the taxi industry in the city in recent weeks.
SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said a provincial task team investigating taxi violence was on an intelligence-driven operation to trace a suspect in the city. The action led them to Savage Street where the shootout took place.
“When police tried to intercept the suspect as well as three other cars, they were met with a hail of bullets and retaliated."
Peters said four unlicensed firearms and ammunition were found at the scene. The main suspects fled.
Best Care Emergency services spokesperson Xander Loubser, who was at the scene, told Pretoria News that two police officers were airlifted to Milpark Hospital in Joburg.
“I am on the roof of the hospital waiting for the helicopter to land and take the police officers to Milpark. I can confirm that more than five people have been shot and there are fatalities,” said Loubser.
The area was cordoned off as investigations continued.
Three weeks ago, two people were shot dead and two others hospitalised as taxi violence flared up in Marabastad.
In another taxi-related incident in Mamelodi, police noticed two suspicious vehicles - a silver grey Mercedes-Benz and a grey Toyota Quest - driving past and tried to stop them.
After a short chase, police managed to corner the suspects and upon searching the vehicles, found firearms.
Peters said it was premature to make the link to the separate cases of those taxi violence incidents, which have gripped the capital city.
“Let us allow the police to investigate and do their jobs before we start speculating,” she said.
Police Minister Bheki Cele, presenting the crime statistics for the past year on Friday, said taxi-related murders were still on the rise in the country.
Cele said the figures would in future be released quarterly following years of protest by civil society.
Boy Zondi, South African National Taxi Council provincial spokesperson, said taxi violence was perpetuated because the people behind the taxi killings were getting away with murder.
Zondi appealed for interventions as a matter of urgency and said taxi violence deserved a commission of inquiry to assist the police in bringing those behind the taxi killings to book.
“We have not seen any results since the establishment of the taxi violence task team. The killings need to stop,” said Zondi.