17 arrested in Pretoria chaos, CBD calm on Thursday morning

By Doug Mattushek - 29 August 2019Views : 1874

Calm has been restored to the Pretoria after Wednesday's chaos shut down the CBD.

The trouble started when a taxi driver was killed at the Bloed taxi rank on Tuesday evening. Angered by the death of one of their own, taxi operators then blocked intersections. Things spiralled out of control when foreign-owned shops were looted and burned, forcing the police to intervene with rubber bullets and tear gas.

Fires had been started and the fire department followed police into the affected areas around Lillian Ngoti and Bloed streets.

Police later confirmed that a total of 17 were arrested, ten for the possession of suspected stolen property and seven others for public violence.

"The taxi industry plays an integral part in the wellbeing of our communities, so when they cry out for police attention, it is important that we respond positively and swiftly, in the best interests of the community," provincial commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela told TimesLIVE.

Meanwhile, the taxi industry is distancing itself from the violence and looting, blaming others for taking advantage of the shutdown.

"We had planned for a demonstration to highlight some of our issues with the shooting of one of us, and we believe some criminal elements took advantage and exploited our plan to advance their criminal intent," the SA National Taxi Council's Mack Makata said.