Polokwane taxi rank closed down in wake of violence
Polokwane - Police in Polokwane have acted decisively by closing the local taxi rank following violent skirmishes that resulted in two police officers being injured and one person being shot and wounded, Limpopo police said on Saturday.
The incident happened on Friday afternoon when police officers on crime prevention duties in the city centre arrested suspects for being in possession of dagga and nyaope, Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said.
"Those members were, all of sudden, attacked by a group of suspects travelling in two vehicles. An assortment of objects, including stones, were thrown at the members. Two members suffered slight injuries and two police vehicles were also damaged."
The situation became volatile and the group allegedly started shooting at the police who fired back, wounding one of the suspects in the leg. Three suspects, including the one who was shot, were arrested and taken to the police station, Ngoepe said.
"While at the police station, one of the arrested suspects was so intoxicated, possibly by drugs or nyaope, that he started damaging police equipment such as computers, photocopiers, walls, and windows. He was subsequently subdued. More arrests are expected."
The taxi rank was closed on Saturday and would remain closed until police were satisfied that the operators were compliant with the law. The arrested suspects would appear in the Polokwane Magistrate's Court soon on charges of attempted murder, malicious damage to property, and possession of dagga, Ngoepe said.
Limpopo police commissioner Lt-Gen Nneke Ledwaba condemned the "apparent acts of lawlessness that seem to be perpetrated under the watch and blessing of taxi operators".
"The police have a constitutional mandate and obligation to eradicate all forms of criminality anywhere in the province and will not allow taxi ranks to be used as havens of criminality," Ledwaba said.