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Calm restored in Mamelodi

Officials are investigating yesterday’s shooting of a Putco bus driver and four passengers.

FILE: Autopax buses at the depot in Mamelodi on 30 June 2015. Picture: Dineo Bendile/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Police say the situation in Mamelodi is calm following days of transport related violence between taxi operators and bus drivers.

Officials are investigating yesterday's shooting of a Public Utility Transport Corporation (Putco) bus driver and four passengers.

Taxi drivers in the area have resisted government's efforts to introduce a new bus operator after Putco cancelled several of its routes in Mamelodi.

Police have appealed to members of the transport industry in Mamelodi not to allow the dispute to endanger the lives of community members.

The police's Lungelo Dlamini said, "We are also appealing to the parties that are in dispute to sit down and sort out the problem. Bu t we will we not allow any lawlessness."

Disgruntled taxi drivers have clashed with bus drivers over the introduction of Prasa owned bus operator, Autopax, which took over from Putco this week.

Authorities say they have increased the deployment of officers to monitor the Pretoria east township and escort buses operating in the area.

Meanwhile, Gauteng Transport MEC Ismail Vadi says more than 20 Autopax buses are operating in Mamelodi today.

Vadi says while there have not been any further talks with taxi drivers, the situation in Mamelodi has stabilised.

"This morning, 26 Autopax buses left the depot and provided normal commuter services without any disruptions."

WATCH: Mamelodi bus commuters left stranded

OPERATION FIELA

The Gauteng government said on Friday that Operation Fiela will now be rolled out in Mamelodi following violence in the area.

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

Gauteng Premier David Makhura said 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.

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

Makhura said 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 said 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."