Cape Town - One hour. Two shootings. Three killed.
Hours later, another fatal shooting claims two more lives in townships near Muizenberg.
Wednesday’s taxi violence has pushed the death toll to eight in one week.
Last week, a taxi owner was shot dead outside his Muizenberg home and on the same day two others were killed at the Capricorn taxi rank.
Police spokesman Andre Traut said the first shooting was in Prince George Drive, Steenberg.
“It is alleged that at 5.55am a White Quantum was driving from Capricorn to Retreat and after the robots at Military Road, a suspect shot at the driver, who returned fire. The 38-year-old taxi driver drove to hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.
“Police found the body of a 23-year-old man in Kornet Street who is believed to be the suspect that shot at the taxi driver,” Traut said.
Traut said police also responded at 6.50am to a murder in St Patrick’s Street, Seawinds, of a 41-year-old Vrygrond resident shot twice in the head next to his Toyota Hi-Ace taxi.
“It is alleged that the suspects are two males who fled in the direction of Overcome Heights,” he said.
Traut said police do not yet know the motive.
Later, at 5.20pm, on the corner of Prince George Drive and Military Road gunmen opened fire on three men, killing two and wounding one.
Traut said no one had been arrested yet and the motive was not yet known.
Residents in St Patrick Street who witnessed the 6.50am shooting spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared for their lives.
One said Bradley Adams had been shot in the head: “He had stopped the taxi in the road, there was no one in the taxi. Three guys went to him and shot him in the head. Everyone in the road ran for cover.”
Adams’s mother, Patricia Chears, was inconsolable when relatives brought her to the scene. She repeatedly shouted that she could not believe it was her son’s body in the taxi.
Relative Shirly Cock said Adams had been a taxi driver since he was 18. They believed the incident was related to a taxi war in the area.
“We know there have been problems for some time now. I never thought Bradley would fall victim this,” she said.
A witness to the Prince George Drive shooting said: “I was walking towards Grassy Park when a guy started shooting at the taxi. I could see that the driver was shooting back. The man who shot first ran to the houses where he died.”
Retreat Taxi Association chairman Basil Nagel said politicians “who have neglected the taxi industry” had caused the taxi war. He said the city’s traffic services and metro police have ignored traffic violations and the crossing of routes by different associations. “This problem has been going on since 2009.”
Outgoing Transport MEC Robin Carlisle said: “Investigations are ongoing and it is difficult to pin the incidents on a specific cause.”