MANZINI: Guns were drawn at the Manzini Bus Rank on Wednesday as a fierce battle between two Local Kombi Associations rages on.
Information gathered from a reliable source close to the matter was that the bone of contention was that the officials who were elected into the office of the Local Kombi Association a few years ago were reluctant to step down, yet their term of office had long expired.
Influential kombi owners at the Manzini Bus Rank were said to have not taken kindly to the officials’ stance of being unwilling to step down from office, hence they formed a separate association which is the Manzini local kombi and minibus association.
A lot was said to have broken loose when the leadership of the new association dispatched their marshals to collect rank fees which stands at E20 a kombi per day.
The long-standing committee was said to have been liked by the new committee’s resolution to dispatch a group of marshals to collect the rank fees in question, hence they allegedly also deployed a team of about eight men who upon arrival at the bus rank, beat the marshals who had been dispatched by the new committee.
The source further alleged that this action prompted the leadership of the new committee to rush to the bus rank to rescue their marshals.
“The authorities of the new committee rushed to the Manzini Rank to rescue the marshals who had been heavily assaulted, however, upon arrival they discovered that the aggressors had long left the scene,” the source further alleged.
The source alleged that given the fact that the members of the long-standing committee were present at the bus rank at that juncture, the members of the new association then attacked them, and during the altercation, guns were drawn as the verbal showdown between the two parties intensified. It is worth noting, however, that no one was shot during the altercation.
Deputy Police Information and Communications Officer (PICO) Inspector Nosipho Mnguni confirmed the matter.
However, she said according to their reports it was not recorded that guns were drawn during the altercation, saying that there was a squabble between the two aforementioned associations, and during the altercation, one man was stabbed.
According to Mnguni, three people were arrested in connection to the incident and they have not been charged yet.
The National Road Transport Council (NRTC) Chairman Sihlangu Nhlabatsi also confirmed the matter, saying that there are two associations which is the Local Kombi Association and the newly formed Manzini Local Kombi and Minibus association, the two associations were fighting over rank fees that are collected from the local kombis at the rank, during the incident one member was injured and rushed to hospital. Nhlabatsi said they had met and discussed the matter and reached an agreement that they will meet again on Tuesday with both parties and the Municipality.