Mweli Masilela suffers face injury in line of duty

Mweli Masilela suffers face injury in line of duty
REPORTER: Mweli Masilela was shot in the face by police while in the line of duty during a protest by taxi drivers in Mbombela . PICTURE Supplied

Taxi drivers are protesting against government not allowing them to fill up their kombis with passengers to full capacity.

Newzroom Afrika journalist Mweli Masilela has reported being shot with rubber bullets by cops while he covered the violent clash between cops and taxi drivers in the Mpumalanga area of KaNyamazane.

The broadcast reporter said he had just arrived Monday 29 June 2020 when police used rubber bullets to disperse crowds of taxi drivers who were protesting against the South African government’s refusal to allow them to carry members of the public to full capacity fearing the contagion of the Covid-19 virus.

Government wants taxis to carry passengers to 70% capacity but taxi drivers say that won’t happen as the same government is allowing aeroplanes to carry passengers to 100% capacity.

They say they can’t be blamed for the spread of Covid-19 as they are not the ones that brought the virus to the country. Also they say the inefficient South African government is not giving them any subsidies but expects them to carry very few passengers.

“This government doesn’t think for us,” one taxi driver said. “How are we going to survive during this time,” Xolani Khumalo, a taxi driver in Middleburg said Monday when they spoke to 013NEWS.

In KaNyamazane, the taxi drivers say they have no choice but to defy the lockdown regulations as they won’t sustain themselves in this time of great economic crisis caused by the global pandemic.

Masilela was caught in the crossfire when rubber bullets were fired by cops to disperse the fighting protesting taxi drivers.

Mweli Masilela suffers face injury in line of duty
Journalist Mweli Masilela who also worked for the SABC

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula warned that “lawlessness” won’t be accepted in this country, otherwise it would mean the people of South Africa no longer have a government.

“When the law is deliberately being broken, the state and its authority must be exerted,” he said, referring to taxi drivers who vowed they would defy lockdown regulations.

“South Africa is not a banana republic, we cannot allow a state of lawlessness where people dare government and say that they are going to render this unworkable and ungovernable,” he said.

“Can the taxi industry promote anarchy and bring the country to a standstill? Yes, they can. Can the law be exerted with the authority of the state? Yes, there will be a collision. Over what? Over something that we can resolve.

“That is completely unnecessary. Collision over what? Over 100% capacity, over interprovincial travel?”

(edited by MLM)

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