Two die in KZN taxi-fare protest

Brigadier Phindile Radebe said yesterday police were investigating allegations that Ntombiyenkosi Mabika, 24, was shot dead by security guards hired to protect KwaDukuza taxi association taxis since protests began on Monday.

She said police were still investigating the death of Bafana Ngcobo, 19, whose body was also found with a gunshot wound.

“There have been allegations that the woman was shot by guards while she was on the way to work.

“There were rumours that Ngcobo was shot by police with rubber bullets, but in hospital it was established that it was a live bullet,” Radebe said.

Both of the cases had been referred to the Independent Complaints Directorate, she said.

National police commissioner General Bheki Cele flew to KwaZulu-Natal yesterday to meet taxi association representatives in a last-minute bid to end the problem.

Violent protests were sparked by a rise in taxi fare from R4.50 to R7.

On Cele’s arrival at Shakaskraal, the situation was still tense, with armoured police vehicles on stand-by and helicopters hovering overhead. At least 240 police officers were sent to keep the peace.

Cele said police would stay until the situation returned to normal.

Roads have been blockaded with burning tyres, rocks, dustbins and tree-trunks since Monday.

A marathon meeting with community representatives, councillors and taxi operators failed to produce a solution by 5pm.

“There has been some misunderstanding . but we are narrowing the gap,” said Cele. He said the police were not responsible for the deaths.

“Police have confirmed that they do not use live ammunition or the type of firearms that seem to have been used, but the ICD will investigate,” he said.

Radebe said 207 protesters had been held since Monday.


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