Pretoria – Chaos has erupted in the Pretoria CBD as taxi operators torched stores owned by foreign nationals who they suspect are dealing drugs to the youth.
Taxi operators are angry after a Nigerian national allegedly shot and killed a taxi driver on Tuesday.
The taxi drivers had confronted alleged drug dealers and buyers near Bloed Street Mall. The drivers have been at loggerheads with the drug dealers for a while.
It was at that moment that shots were fired, killing a taxi driver.
The current situation is very hostile and police are not having much luck stopping the torching and looting of stores.
Looters can be seen running up the streets with stolen television sets and breaking the phones of those taking pictures or recording video.
The chaos comes a day after traffic came to a standstill in the CBD when taxi drivers blocked intersections with metro buses.
Tshwane metro police department spokesperson senior superintendent Isaac Mahamba said their members managed to clear the road and remove the buses to relieve traffic.
Motorists on Tuesday had to find alternative routes to navigate through the heart of the nation’s capital.
Alternative routes meant motorists driving the wrong way down one-way streets, illegal U-turning and using any space they could find in order to get out of the city centre as quickly as possible.
A man speaks about the situation. Video: James Mahlokwane
Tuesday’s shooting infuriated taxi operators, who have been taking strong action against drugs in the CBD. They hijacked numerous buses and blocked roads.
Roads and Transport MMC Sheila Lynn Senkubuge condemned the violence that resulted in disruption of public transport operations.
“A shooting which resulted in the death of a taxi driver is reported to have incited the riots.
“The riots led to two A Re Yeng and three Tshwane Bus Services and Gautrain buses as well as two trucks being utilised to blockade the roads.
Shops being looted in the Pretoria CBD. Picture: James Mahlokwane