Pretoria – The violence must stop. So says President Cyril Ramaphosa, speaking to taxi drivers in Pretoria.
Ramaphosa yesterday addressed a crowd of drivers and operators at the Bloed Street taxi rank for the launch of a campaign to clean up the streets.
He was on a mission to calm the agony of those still angry at the death of taxi driver Jabu Baloyi, murdered when he confronted an alleged drug dealer in the CBD last month.
Taxi drivers had warned that they would deal with the drug problem, one they placed at the door of illegal foreign nationals. Baloyi’s death sparked days of violent protests in the CBD which spread to other areas.
Despite many saying that criminality was at play as shops were looted others said that xenophobia had once again reared its ugly head.
And all of this played out as women cried foul at the extent of gender-based violence after University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana was raped and murdered, leading to an outpouring of emotion and the rise of the #AmINext movement.
Yesterday, thousands of women protested against gender-based violence in the Sandton Shutdown, while in Pretoria a court heard horror details of the rape of a seven-year-old girl.
And it played out as the police minister released the latest crime statistics, statistics which confirm our high murder and rape rates.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and his deputy Jessie Duarte joined Ramaphosa on the outreach mission to encourage citizens to stop the violence and put their faith in law enforcement.
Ramaphosa, who last week visited Mrwetyana’s family, visited Baloyi’s home in Soshanguve to inform his family that he would ensure that his death would not be in vain, as those responsible would be found and brought to book.
He asked taxi operators to lead by example and follow the law of the land, so that those who came from outside too could be expected to follow the law.
Taxi operators told Ramaphosa that they want urgent intervention on the drug issue, including a raid of all the drug hotpots listed on a memorandum, and the arrest of all police officers who they say are in cahoots with drug dealers.
Ramaphosa said the South African National Taxi Council and the National Taxi Alliance assured the NEC that taxi operators were not xenophobic. but only wanted the police to punish foreign nationals who were getting away with criminal activity without consequence.
“We are taking a position against those selling nyaope.
“We told Baloyi’s family that we thank them and that Jabu has now become a symbol and an important name which we want to use against drugs and those selling nyaope.
“We also want to thank you taxi operators, because you have a clear position against nyaope and see everything that’s happening. You see them selling nyaope to our children and you are the ones who took a stance against this nyaope,” said the president.
Ramaphosa read aloud the memorandum submitted to him by taxi operators who asked the police to remove all nyaope addicts in the CBD and raid known drug areas in the city centre and Marabastad, Sunnyside, Pretoria West, Capital Park and other areas.
Ramaphosa stated that it must be clear that foreign nationals were not hated in South Africa but welcomed.