Two people were fatally shot on a fifth day of violent protests in the South African city of Cape Town on Monday sparked by a dispute last week between minibus taxi drivers and authorities.
A person was killed and three others were wounded in a shooting near the Cape Town International Airport after a group of protesters pelted a car with stones and the driver responded by firing shots at them, police said. The shooting happened while minubus taxis blockaded a road near the airport, police said.
Police said the shooter would be investigated for murder and attempted murder.
A man died of multiple gunshot wounds in a separate shooting that police said they believed was also related to the protests.
The unrest on the outskirts of South Africa’s second-largest city followed an announcement last Thursday of a weeklong strike by minubus taxi drivers, who are angered at what they call heavy-handed tactics by police and city authorities in impounding some of their vehicles.
The taxis’ national union has said its members aren’t instigating the violence and others are using the strike as an excuse to launch their own protests.
A community safety officer was killed Friday night, with city authorities also linking that officer’s death to the protests. Vehicles have been set alight in numerous areas around the outskirts of Cape Town, where large, impoverished townships are often the scene of violent protests. One of the city’s depots was firebombed over the weekend, authorities said.
Cape Town is viewed as one of the most beautiful cities in the world and is South Africa’s tourist highlight, with its majestic Table Mountain and picturesque Atlantic seaboard.
But the areas on the city’s outskirts have some of the highest homicide rates in the country and residents say they have been neglected for years and are now deeply troubled by violence and poverty.
At least 35 people were arrested in the protests Monday that occurred in several areas, city authorities said.
Four city buses, four private vehicles and two trucks were set on fire, while police officers reported being shot at while trying to move minibus taxis that caused another blockade on Cape Town’s main highway, said JP Smith, the member of the mayoral committee in charge of safety and security. He also said there was another shooting at a railway station, but gave no detail on any casualties.
“There have also been clear attempts to target city staff and infrastructure,” Smith said.
Police have been deployed and are on high alert on a 18-mile stretch of highway from the edges of the city and out past the airport.