Taxi Violence erupts in Ballito

Two men were shot last night (Tuesday 19th March) as the sound of gun shots erupted in Ballito with more than 30 gunshots fired in the main centre of town. Taxi wars have been brewing over the past few days in Ballito as taxi associations fight for routes and commuters business in the area.

The taxi rank earlier in the day before the incident

Officers from Umhlali SAPS have been on the scene trying to discourage violence between the KwaDukuza Taxi Association and the Dolphin Coast Taxi Association but at around 6pm last night the main road in Ballito, between Lifestyle Centre and The Junction Shopping Centre, turned into a mini warzone as people were running and falling down the banks on the side of the roads seeking cover. Cars did illegal u-turns or reversed back down the main roads and patrons in restaurants took cover hiding behind chairs and kids being protected in kitchen areas.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Chris Botha said the men sustained several gunshot wounds. One of them was in a critical condition. Paramedics found them at the side of a road near a minibus taxi rank. They were treated at the scene and taken to hospital.

A local mom described the incident, on Facebook, as she was at one of the shopping centres, “Rather scary (I) was at Ballito Lifestyle Centre when about 30 gunshots (at the) taxi rank went off. Police were amazing. Kids are shaken but all safe, we’re praying for peace in our country!!!” Facebook and Twitter lit up with comments from locals and commuters as they were experiencing the violence first hand. Fortunately many were made aware of the danger through FB and Twitter and steered clear of the hot spot.

Local residents are extremely saddened and frustrated at what happened in one of the county’s best coastal holiday spots, and are asking KwaDukuza Municipality to take control of the situation to ensure the safety of both residents as well as the commuters who are affected by the violence.

Update: One of our readers sent us this bone-chilling video which was shot while lying under the tables in the John Dorys in Lifestyle Centre.

Update : Photo’s taken by FabMags employee when shots were being fired. Some images show bullet holes in vehicles as well as injured person lying alongside a vehicle that was part of the shoot out.

 

If you have a comment we’d like to hear from you. Comments will be forwarded to the local municipality.

 

18 Comments

  1. Marc

    20/03/2013 at 08:33

    While this whole thing is terrible, we need to remember a few things. This whole thing could easily be avoided if the taxi associations & bosses were not so GREEDY. The whole thing lies around money and who can get the most business.
    But, unfortunately we, and our workers are just the pawns in their games !

    There have been calls to move the taxi rank (which I believe is on the card) but this won’t solve anything. The only thing it will mean the people who rely on this mode of transport, given that they have no other alternatives, will just have a longer way to walk to get to their places of work.

    It’s a sad, but true reality !

    • Sally

      20/03/2013 at 09:44

      I agree 100% with Marc and believe that the taxi association should be accountable for what is going on. They should control their members and take responsinility. It is a disgrace that the commuters are intimidated and become the victims. The lack of a proper taxi rank is unacceptable as these people work all day then have to stand for ever in rain or boiling sun waiting for these taxis to do their thing. Is it not possible to create a municipal bus service. and get rid of the taxis once and for all. I believe it is and ask the municipality and those involved to put greed aside, to have some compassion for the general public and give them a safe and secure transport service.

    • Craig

      20/03/2013 at 14:55

      I Also agree with Marc – The fundamental issue at hand is that this all could have been prevented. It only takes one stray bullet to kill an innocent bystander.

      However, I will say one thing – that taxi rank is illegal and having it next to un upmarket shopping centre is a recipe for disaster – Yes it will inconvenience the poor commuters, who i really do feel for, but, don’t forget the ‘informal’ taxi rank could be a formal drop off zone that does not disrupt the already congested route. Until these organizations understand the law and stop behaving like animals it seems we are out of options.

  2. Nat

    20/03/2013 at 10:29

    I believe we need a safe, secure and undercover taxi rank, with seating, and proper presentable parking! Not a piece of land at a roundabout, that causes disruption to everyday traffic because of where the entrance/exit is, and where the ladies and gents stand in the blistering sun or pouring rain, waiting for their transport to get home. This ‘rank’ needs to be moved to a suitable location, and needs to have at least the basics, like a roof and seating avaialble.

  3. Richard Kohne

    20/03/2013 at 10:29

    30 gunshots – was more like a 100 rounds went off there. Absolute chaos!!! Taxi rank has got to be moved!

  4. grant

    20/03/2013 at 10:56

    Disgusting that the police let it get to shots being fired !! The police have been at the rank since Monday afternoon, a full 24 hours before the shootings took place. How about either arresting the people responsible for the violence ? Imagine if ordinary citizens (armed with guns) staged a violent protest in the middle of La Lucia – Why are taxi’s treated any differently, its shocking that the perps werent arrested and the situation contained on Monday.

  5. Geoff

    20/03/2013 at 11:08

    I was one of the cars that had to do a u-turn (more like ramped the pavement) to get away. I was innocently coming home from work along the M4 and narrowly missed the gunfire. This is nonsense and not needed in our beautiful Ballito.
    Just glad my kids were not in the car as Police and the taxi gunmen don’t seem to think bullets travel far and fast and innocent bystanders even up to 1KM away could be hurt!!!
    Agree the taxi rank needs to move and be a more controlled environment.
    Come on KwaDukusa- do something for your resident who pay dearly to live in such a wonderful place!!

  6. Ashley

    20/03/2013 at 12:08

    This violenece is not good for the holidays around the corner. Need a more decent taxi rank for the commuters.
    By the way, is the upgrade to the roads going toe ase traffic? I don’t think so, as the main road (M4) ends up in Ballito. The main road (M4) needs to go back like the old days, behind Hirschs. This will ease traffic or alternatively from Zimbali join the N2

  7. Patricia

    20/03/2013 at 12:11

    Agree, M4 needs to move.

  8. Cindy

    20/03/2013 at 15:37

    I was there! It sounded like thunder! I have never been so terrified in my life. I was to scared to move. I had just passed the taxi rank when the shooting happened. The taxi rank should not be there! It is dangerous and it looks awful when you arrive into our beautiful Ballito. I hate it so much. Please take it away!!!!!

  9. Stephenie

    20/03/2013 at 16:36

    First of all why do we evn have a taxi rank right in front of Ballito’s main shopping centre, it looks terrible and now this?? secondly how are they even getting these weapons?? might as well just live in johannesburg!

  10. fleurish

    20/03/2013 at 16:54

    in a country where we are encouraged to create jobs, it amazes me that the owners of the taxi’s who are carrying passengers to the workplace are so short sighted! if employees/passengers can’t get to work because of corrupt and greedy taxi owners in-fighting, employers won’t employ people who can’t get to work, thereby leaving less passengers for taxi’s, therefore no no passengers no money for taxi bosses? Get the BIG picture bosses.

  11. Brett Southgate

    20/03/2013 at 23:51

    Until you have law and order in this country for every one this will continue. This is just an incident of many and because it happened in Ballito its big news. About ten years ago there was a taxi shoot out in central Empangeni at lunch hour which lasted almost half an hour, it was like being in the wild west. There were about ten people killed and about twice as many injured. Nothing has changed only closer to home for some.

  12. Dean Pillay

    21/03/2013 at 13:38

    Public transportation is the responsibility of the government. Instead of looking at expropriating land and taking over mines, they should be taking over one of the biggest money earning industries and ensuring the safety of citizens.

    Get rid of the taxis and the taxi associations.

  13. Big Q

    22/03/2013 at 08:46

    We need to wake up and face the reality, it’s just another day in Africa- an issue of DNA, nobody can force a change in behaviour! And really, there’s no such thing as a “safe” taxi rank!?! Our town planners have to take accountability for Ballito’s residents’ safety and move the rank out of site where it has minimal impact on traffic flow and poses the lowest risk to motorists & residents!!

  14. Visitor74

    11/04/2013 at 16:30

    I just hope the rank is moved far off from the center – it may not prevent this – I was just down there in SA during Easter and I just wonder what could have happened if it happened then…..reinforces the a fact why I didn’t move to SA….

  15. Sally

    18/04/2013 at 21:58

    I agree with moving the taxi rank BUT at the same time arranging a shuttle service for the people who work in our town. “Im alright Jack” attitude is not acceptable. People using the taxis are running a gauntlet of gun waving thugs every day of their lives. Can you imagine facing that every day. It is no longer ok to say “make us safe” we have to look at the big picture and try and make everyone safe. We need massive publicity and attention to this crisis so that the issue is settled once and for all. The municipality do not care a dam and the only way to get them to act is through constant bad publicity and constant demands. We need someone strong snd dedicated in this town to follow it through. Any ideas ? Any volunteers ? PLEASE

    • Molly

      19/04/2013 at 11:18

      I am all for being pro active in this situation. Our problem is the apathy of our police services and the power of the taxi associations. The commuters, the public, local business are all suffering. What was done to investigate the last incident? No press release, no information made public. Who shot who? Was any sort of investigation done? You have a volunteer here……

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