WAR IS WAGED
Rustenburg – The early afternoon of Monday, 8 January, the Rustenburg Taxi Rank became a war zone as taxi operators took the law into their own hands.
Fed up with drug users (also known as the “nyaope” boys), Rustenburg taxi operators confronted these drug users who were allegedly found committing crime in the Central Business District (CBD). Mob justice fever soon took over!
“The Community Service Centre (CSC) police from Rustenburg were called in to control the situation,” says brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone, police spokesperson. This led to the arrest of a number of taxi operators, who were accused of assaulting the “nyaope boys”.
Chaos erupted as taxi operators blockaded both the taxi and bus ranks in protest of five taxi operators being arrested and the possibility of them facing criminal charges for public violence and assault. The matter was escalated by the CSC to the Public Order Police (POP) for blocked roads at both the taxi rank and bus rank, clearing the chaos and order being restored to the city.
Hundreds of commuters were left stranded by the chaos, many having to make alternative arrangements to make their way home or to work. This has left many unhappy commuters, who fear for their lives.
Disgruntled members of the community took to the streets in the afternoon of Wednesday, 10 January, which appeared to be an extension of the incidents earlier in the week. Members of the community went on the rampage and set houses alight in the CBD. Seven houses thought to be occupied by foreign nationals were torched, with the flames consuming everything in its path.
“The Rustenburg Local Municipality (RLM) appeals to the Rustenburg community not to take the law into their own hands and allow both Public Safety and police to restore order to the CBD,” says Andrew Seome, municipal spokesperson.
Johan de Klerk of AfriForum says: “The following properties were set alight: 77 Kruger Street, 64 Leyds Street, 95 Leyds, 144 Klopper Street, 151 Klopper, 153 Klopper and 155 Klopper. We urge the community to steer clear of the CBD.”
The police confirm the arrest of a suspect, charging him with the brutal rape of a 17-year old minor, found at one of the crime scenes. A police official was arrested at the same location for the possession of drugs.
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