CAPE TOWN – Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) drivers arrested for attempted murder following the taxi violence have been set free.
The 23 men were due to appear in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court on Thursday but the matter was struck off the roll for further investigation.
The men were arrested on Tuesday when 10 taxis from Cata Nyanga drove past the Delft taxi rank and several shots were fired in the direction of the rank in Main Road.
Outside court, scores of taxi drivers showed up to support their colleagues.
This followed a tense situation at the Delft taxi rank where Delft Taxi Association (DTA) members promised “bloodshed” if Cata members operated from the rank.
A Cata taxi was towed away after it had been stoned.
The back side windows were damaged.
Police spokesman Brian Daniels said the rank had been closed due to the unrest.
“No incidents have been reported since this morning when the taxi was stoned – not shot at – around 6am.
“We have more than enough police vehicles in the area. We are ready and able to defuse any situation,” he said.
Cata chairman Victor Wiwi said they had heard that one of their taxis had been shot at in Delft but that no one had been injured.
He said they were still operating in Delft and had asked the police to protect their vehicles from further attacks.
Nazeem Daniels, DTA chairman and interim chairman of the Delft Taxi Council, said there was tension in the area.
He had also heard gunshots but could not say which association the taxi belonged to.
Daniels added that the Delft Taxi Council elections, where the DTA would have acquired control over the local industry, had been postponed for 14 days.
Sunray Primary School, situated about 400m from the Delft taxi rank, had been closed in anticipation of possible violence. Principal Roland le Roux said: “There is an uneasiness. “Parents are concerned for the safety and security of their children and have been allowed to take them home.”
Le Roux added that normal school assessments had been postponed and the matter would be re-evaluated.
Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said a strong police presence was being maintained to monitor the situation, and this would continue until normality was restored.
He urged commuters and taxi operators to co-operate with police.
Cape Argus/Iol News
IMAGE: A Cata taxi was stoned metres away from Delft taxi rank on Thursday as violence escalated. Picture: Bheki Radebe/Independent Media