The Margate CBD remains a no-go zone as tensions between rival taxi groups spilt into the second day.
Margate CBD taxi war update for Friday, 26 January 2024
The Ramsgate Community Policing Forum (RCPF) has issued a stern advisory in light of the unrest, stating:
“SAPS are on site with a specialist task team to address this specific type of unrest. The tactical team is also on the ground.”
The group warned Margate residents not to travel in and around the CBD unnecessarily. More specifically, residents were warned to, at all costs, avoid Margate robots at the Pick n’ Pay-Hibiscus Mall intersection.
The situation in Margate CBD rapidly deteriorated into a warzone on Thursday, with rival taxi operators engaging in a violent clash.
Mi7 National Group, a private security company, described the scene as “rival operators clashing in a hail of gunfire and stones.”
Amidst the turmoil, one individual, severely injured including wounds from a panga, sought refuge in a nearby store.
Mi7’s Emergency Medical Services teams, along with other service providers, faced challenges in reaching and assisting the injured due to the ongoing conflict.
Despite the added presence of police and local security companies, the area remains volatile.
Motorists and residents are strongly advised to steer clear of the Margate CBD, especially around the taxi rank, until further notice.
This incident of taxi violence in Margate is not an isolated case in South Africa.
A similar situation unfolded last week in Port St Johns, where a feud between Lusikisiki and Port St Johns taxi associations resulted in a shootout, leaving three security officials dead and several others injured.
The exact cause of the Margate taxi violence is currently unclear.
Taxi wars in South Africa often stem from disputes over lucrative routes, leading to fierce competition among taxi associations.
In many cases, these disputes escalate into violent confrontations, as seen in Margate and other regions, jeopardising public safety and disrupting daily life.