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Operation Fiela to be rolled out in Mamelodi

Five people were shot and wounded this morning and AutoPax buses were pelted with stones.

Putco has confirmed that one of its drivers and four passengers have been shot and wounded inside a bus outside Mamelodi amid the turmoil on 3 July 2015. Picture: @tshidi_lee

JOHANNESBURG - The Gauteng government says Operation Fiela will now be rolled out in Mamelodi following three days of violence in the area.

The Public Utility Transport Corporation (Putco) says five people were shot and wounded during an attack on one of its buses this morning but police have downplayed the injuries.

AutoPax buses were also pelted with stones as they tried to operate in the township.

GautenPpremier David Makhura says taxi violence is now a priority crime and government will make sure those responsible for attacks will be arrested.

"Mamelodi has been on our eyes with an increase in attacks among taxi owners here."

He says the police presence will increase significantly in Mamelodi as Operation Fiela is implemented.

"It will take as long as it requires stabilising the area. But we are confident that by the end of weekend the situation will have normalised."

Both Provincial and National Government are planning to meet with taxi bosses to discuss the violence.

Makhura says if it becomes necessary to deploy the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to help police end the violence in Mamelodi, government will consider this option.

The premier says commuters don't feel safe taking public transport but he assured them authorities will not hesitate to send more law enforcement to Mamelodi.

"When you say will more police help… We are not just talking about the police. Community members have made it clear that if the police need to be reinforced with the SANDF that must be the case."

Government says it will not allow taxi operators to dictate which bus services people use.

He says commuters have been pleased with AutoPax's services so far and will continue to make use of it despite taxi operators' strong opposition.

National government is expected to meet with the community at the weekend to resolve the matter once and for all.

WATCH: Mamelodi bus commuters left stranded

MAMELODI CRISIS

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) said this morning it has called for a meeting with taxi associations in Mamelodi after a two day standoff between bus drivers and taxi operators.

AutoPax, a Prasa subsidiary was due to start a three month long contract this week after Putco cancelled its contracts.

But taxi drivers have disrupted operations, leaving commuters in the lurch as they seek to control the routes.

Prasa has called for calm in Mamelodi saying commuters have the right to choose between buses and taxis to get to work.

Prasa spokesperson Moffet Mofokeng said the AutoPax contract is only temporary.

"People should be calm, the taxi industry included. At the end, there will be a solution."

He said while the Gauteng Transport Department has met with taxi associations over the past two days, Prasa is taking matters into their own hands.

"Our buses were stoned. The inconvenience on the commuters is heavy. We've decided that we'll meet with the local taxi association."