At least two people have been killed in the South African city of Cape Town as protests sparked by a dispute between minibus taxi drivers and authorities entered its fifth day.
One person was killed and three were wounded in a shooting near Cape Town International Airport when a group of protesters pelted a car with stones and the driver responded by allegedly firing shots at them, police said on Monday.
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The shooting happened while minibus taxis blocked a road near the airport, police said.
Police also 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 British High Commission in South Africa on Monday issued a notice on Facebook after the unrest, advising travellers to delay driving “to and from the airport until the route is cleared”, warning that “GPS services could divert you into less secure areas or into ongoing protests”.
The South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) called for the industrial action last week over a new municipal law that gives the city the power to impound vehicles over offences such as driving without a licence, not displaying registration plates or overloading.
Tensions rose after 15 minibuses were impounded on Tuesday.
Thousands of stranded commuters piled up at bus and taxi stations across the city on Thursday with hundreds opting to walk home late into the night while others slept at the stations as violence erupted.
On Friday night, a police officer was shot and killed in a vehicle in a township 20km (12 miles) southeast of Cape Town while on patrol.
The possibility that Friday’s shooting was related to the taxi strike cannot be ruled out because officers were “performing crime prevention patrols to quell taxi-related incidents”, police said.
SANTACO, which said 6,000 vehicles have been impounded since the beginning of the year, argued that it has been “left with no other option” due to “the frivolous impoundment operations run by government”.
“It is clear that there has been a level of premeditation in the actions we’ve witnessed over the past few days,” Cape Town’s government said in a statement on Monday.
“There have also been clear attempts to target City staff and infrastructure,” it said.
The city said two government vehicles have been torched and one hijacked and there have been four incidents of torching and stoning of private vehicles and shootings.
After failed negotiations at the weekend between SANTACO and the government, the taxi association announced the action would continue until Wednesday.