Conflict surrounding the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Nelson Mandela Bay took another twist yesterday when a high-ranking taxi official appeared in court for attempted murder or incitement to commit murder.

Andile John Faleni, 39, of KwaDwesi, appeared briefly in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate‘s Court yesterday.

The case stems from a heated meeting of taxi operators, called in October last year, to discuss the transport system being put in place for next year‘s Fifa World Cup tournament in the city.

The courtroom was packed with taxi owners, including district taxi boss Melekile Hani, who is also facing murder and assault charges.

Faleni, treasurer of the Border Taxi Association, was granted R10000 bail which was also accompanied by stringent conditions, including house arrest.

He was not asked to plead and no evidence was led.

The case was postponed to June 26 for further investigation.

Faleni was arrested last Friday when he went to the Mount Road police station where he signed as a witness in an unrelated case.

He appeared in the Motherwell Magistrate‘s Court on Monday, but his lawyer, Danie Oelofse, insisted that the matter be transferred to the New Law Courts in North End where he appeared yesterday.

A source close to the case said the charges were not yet properly formulated and Faleni could face either attempted murder or incitement to commit murder.

Faleni was allegedly part of a group which did not support the BRT system.

The victim, known only as Ntsikelelo, was apparently in favour of the system.

The taxi industry is at loggerheads with the government over the construction and implementation of the BRT, a key project for the World Cup finals.

Many taxi operators countrywide – although drawn into the new system as part owners and key stakeholders – fear they will lose business when the BRT is implemented and have staged violent protests.