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'Safety is a priority for Operation Fiela'

Gauteng Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane says Operation Fiela isn't mandated to target taxi drivers.

Commuters are stranded in Mamelodi as taxi drivers won’t allow Autopax buses to operate in the area. Picture: Vumani mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane says the safety of commuters in Mamelodi is the main priority from the Operation Fiela team.

Nkosi-Malobane says Operation Fiela is not mandated to target taxi drivers.

The Gauteng government announced it would be rolling out the operation in the area, following three days of attacks targeted at bus drivers allegedly by taxi drivers, who are unhappy that buses are operating in the area.

Taxi drivers have clashed with bus drivers and commuters following the termination of Putco services in several parts of Gauteng including Mamelodi this week.

At the root of it, is unhappiness from taxi drivers with the Gauteng government's awarding of a contract to AutoPax to take over the routes.

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

On Friday five people were shot and wounded during an attack on one of the Putco buses.

The MEC says attempts to negotiate a solution with the taxi drivers have been tried but failed this week.

"We haven't been able to come up with a solution that satisfies everyone because the taxi people are insisting that they want that route to be handed over to them and that we shouldn't deploy buses."

Earlier today Gauteng Premier David Makhura assured Mamelodi residents that "order will be restored" in the area.

Makhura said police will make sure the violence comes to an end.

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