Carnage was witnessed in South Africa on the streets of Korsten, Gqeberha yesterday as taxi drivers and Somalian shop owners fought fire with fire…
A small spark ignited some fiery tensions in a busy area of Gqeberha on Tuesday after a collision between two cars led to violent altercations in broad daylight.
A group of taxi drivers squared off with local shop owners (many of whom are thought to be Somalians), as unrest and anarchy came to the streets of Korsten.
SOMALIANS INVOLVED IN GQEBERHA ‘STREET WARS’
The major details have emerged overnight, with police revealing how exactly a small-scale car crash provoked scenes that were comparable to a riot. Things escalated immediately, as the situation continued to devolve.
- It is alleged that at about 14:00 on Tuesday afternoon, a collision between a taxi and an Audi took place.
- It’s understood that the driver of the taxi then alighted, and started to assault the driver of the Audi.
- The Audi driver and went further up the road. But his vehicle stalled, and a group of taxi drivers assaulted him.
- Local businessmen and spaza shop owners, many believed to be Somalians, then fought with the taxi drivers.
- This retaliation was fierce. EIGHT taxis were then torched, with a further two vehicles vandalised.
- Miraculously, no-one sustained any life-threatening injuries amid the chaos.
Various videos of the ferocious fighting have gone viral online, but a more recent upload shows that some Somalian business owners made sure they were ‘tooled up’ for their showdown on the streets
TAXI DRIVERS TO BE PROBED FOR REACTION TO CAR CRASH
In a statement issued last night, the South African police service( SAPS) revealed that no arrests have been made yet. They described the mood in Gqeberha as ‘tense’, confirming that an increased police presence with remain in Korsten on Wednesday:
“Police have opened a case of public violence. No arrests were affected. The situation is still tense and police are on high alert and will remain in the area monitoring the situation. The altercation between the two groups as well as the destruction of the vehicles emanated from the initial accident that was reported.” SAPS said in a statement.
A security personnel contingent remains deployed in the Korsten area of Gqeberha as of Oct. 14, following unrest in the area the previous day. The unrest was sparked by a car accident involving a minibus taxi driver and a Somali national. The incident escalated, and members of the local Somali community, some of who were armed, set multiple minibus taxis and businesses alight in the vicinity of the local taxi rank.
Although the unrest was brought under control late Oct. 13, the situation remains tense, and further violence is possible. Any additional violence between taxi drivers and the local Somali community could escalate and take on a xenophobic tone.
Police are likely to remain deployed to the area in the coming days. Localized transport disruptions are likely.
There is a history of xenophobic violence against foreign businesses, specifically African and South Asian-owned businesses, in South Africa. Amid a poor economic situation, increased levels of anti-foreigner sentiment have triggered intermittent bouts of violence in the past. Fatalities have occurred during violence targeting African migrants in South Africa multiple times in recent years.
Even relatively small incidents can quickly escalate into xenophobic attacks and reprisal attacks as residents blame foreign nationals for housing shortages, job scarcity, criminal activity, and delaying service delivery. In the event such violence occurs, it is usually restricted to low-income areas but can quickly spread from one area to another.
The people have been advised to avoid the Korsten area due to possible additional clashes and allow additional time to reach destinations near the affected area and to leave the area immediately or seek shelter in a secure location if violence occurs.