Police have increased their presence in Mamelodi, north of Pretoria, following the stoning of buses and violent attacks against some bus drivers in the area, Gauteng police said.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said shots had been fired at a Putco bus on Friday and five people had been injured.

“Five people were reported to have been injured, one serious and others slightly injured.

“A task team consisting of detectives and crime intelligence officers are already at work to bring those who were responsible for violence to book and they will face the full might of the law,” Dlamini said.

Putco cancelled its contract in Gauteng for eight routes, citing financial loss. Mamelodi was one of the routes. Autopax was appointed to fill the void, much to the dismay of taxi owners in the area, who questioned how Autopax was able to get permits while they have to wait a long time.

Transport MEC Ismail Vadi said the problems in Mamelodi were as a result of the taxi owners not understanding the process of applying for operating permits. He said because the route was already in operation, a new service could be appointed without the need to gazette or put to tender.

Putco confirmed that the two buses which had been attacked on Friday morning, were however, not travelling on the affected routes.

They had been travelling from Mpumalanga on Nellmapius road outside Mamelodi.

Dlamini said the area had been calm since midday on Friday.

“Police are also appealing to the commuters to remain calm and expose those who are responsible for violence.”

He said talks between affected parties were underway.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura, who held a briefing in Mamelodi on Friday afternoon, said government would not be held to ransom by aggrieved taxi owners who were opposing the modernisation of public transport.

“We will not allow the taxi operators to hold the community to ransom. The commuters must be protected to choose the mode of transport they want to use,” he said.

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