Durban Road in Korsten, Gqeberha, is the scene of a brewing civil war between Somali nationals and local taxis.
What started the Somali violence in Korsten?
On Wednesday, violence broke out in the busy transit street where at least eight taxis were torched by angry Somali nationals. In videos that surfaced on social media, vehicles with smashed windows were abandoned on the road as scores of foreign nationals, brandishing military-grade assault rifles, stormed towards the taxi rank.
This is not Afghanistan or Syria. This is Gqeberha, and Somalians are parading with heavy machinery after they burned taxis. Our country has become lawless, and no one respects the law of rule now. Cry my beloved country 😥 pic.twitter.com/xYUKDc8rmZ— Fusi Nkoala (@Iam_Fusi) October 13, 2021
Stay clear of Korsten Durban Road Taxis and Somalia's gun fights etc. pic.twitter.com/Y0nqYQ5vRm— Gqwashu (@zukilemadikane) October 13, 2021
To get a better understanding of what happened at the busy Gqeberha district, Swisher Post News contacted the Somali Association of South Africa’s (SASA) head office in Pretoria and spoke to a representative named Abdifatah Abdul.
According to Abdul’s account of events, the violence that broke out in Korsten was the escalated outcome of a car accident involving a taxi driver and a Somali businessman.
“The taxi driver ran out and go call his friends to irritate the people by coming there, then they fight each other [and] they burned that car (the businessman’s vehicle),” Adbul claimed
In retaliation, the SASA representative added, Somali nationals who operate on Durban Road gathered in numbers and headed to the taxi rank where at least eight minibuses were torched.
Asked about the weapons foreign nationals were seen brandishing in broad daylight, Abdul claimed to know nothing about this.
“I never seen that videos and I never know anything about it… It’s not Somalians only fighting, even the Indians, the coloureds are fighting with those taxis, not only Somalians that’s fighting there,” he said.
Will taxis respond to the Somali revolt?
Hours after Korsten police restored some semblance of order on Durban Road, it’s believed that shops operated by foreign nationals were targeted by rioters linked to the taxi unrest.
Abdul was able to confirm that while no reports of deaths or injuries had reached their office, a number of shops were torched.
“Some of the shops are burned, some of the looting are taking [place],” he revealed.
In a statement released by police, spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu confirmed that based on preliminary investigations, the Somali revolt was, indeed, prompted by a collision between a taxi driver and the driver of an Audi.
“A retaliation between the businessmen and the taxi drivers ensued resulting in a total of eight taxis being set alight, two taxis damaged and a civilian vehicle also set alight. All the taxis were stationary at the rank. No one sustained injuries,” Col. Naidu confirmed.
At this time, no arrests have been made and Naidu confirmed that as things stand, Durban Road is a no-go zone as rising tensions could spill into another day of violence.