Tensions were palpable in Port St Johns, Eastern Cape, on Tuesday morning, with the R61 route blocked by warring taxi associations in a brazen display of disregard for law and order.
Port St Johns taxis completely block off R61 route amid rising tensions
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Police officials were on standby as a large fleet of taxis cordoned off the R61 route that connects Port St Johns to Lusikisiki.
While the context of the unsanctioned symposium was unknown this early into the report, sources close to the situation reliably informed us the taxi-enforced road closure was a response to Tuesday’s bloodshed in Port St Johns’ central district.
Law enforcement authorities, already stretched thin in numbers, stood on the sidelines as taxi associations took over the R61 route, completely unabated.
When this article was published, the route was still closed off to traffic on both sides, and motorists were advised to avoid the area at all costs.
Tuesday’s events in Port St Johns will go down in history as one of the darkest days in one of the Wild Coast’s hidden gems.
Two taxi associations at war over the transit route that connects Port St Johns to Lusikisiki left a trail of devastation and a community reeling in utter dismay, on Tuesday.
According to police, at least nine suspects were arrested in connection with a mass shooting that resulted in multiple deaths and several injuries, including an 11-year-old boy struck by a stray bullet.
Eyewitness accounts describe a chaotic scene as gunmen, arriving in four different vehicles, opened fire on members of the opposing taxi gang.
The shootout led to the death of multiple taxi operators, while several vehicles, including two near a KFC outlet and one adjacent to a health centre, were set ablaze.
The Eastern Cape’s Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Nomthetheleli Mene, has called for peace and cooperation between the feuding taxi associations operating in the Lusikisiki/Port St Johns areas.
“Such lawlessness will not be tolerated as innocent lives are at risk. We immediately call on all stakeholders to come forward and engage in constructive discussions and urgently find a solution so as to avoid further loss of lives,” Lt-Gen Mene said.