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Cape Town - Infighting at one of Cape Town’s biggest minibus taxi associations has claimed the lives of five taxi owners over the past month.
On Thursday, scores of Bellville Taxi Association (Bellta) members affiliated to the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) held a prayer meeting in Delft for one of their members killed last week.
Transport and Public Works MEC spokesman Siphesihle Dube said the internal Cata conflict involved Bellta members.
Early this month, Transport MEC Robin Carlisle said there had been more than 30 reports of murder and attempted murder in the minibus taxi industry in the past year.
No arrests had been made.
The Cape Argus spoke to Cata regional executive members, who, fearing for their lives, declined to be identified. “Any taxi leader’s life is at risk,” said one.
The infighting had started as a power struggle, but it had now “spread and is going to escalate”, he warned.
The taxi owner said he was disappointed that police commissioner Riah Phiyega failed to address the issue of taxi murders when she was in Cape Town this week.
“The importance of what happened regarding the taxi killings has not been mentioned. But the violence continues.”
Provincial police spokesman FC van Wyk said the police were doing all they could to arrest the murderers.
Provincial SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) chairman Vernon Billet said the organisation was aware of the feud.
Bellta members had agreed to a meeting at which Santaco would act as mediators, Billet said.
Meanwhile, the family of Krwempayo Simayile, 59, who was shot dead while driving his private vehicle in Philippi on Wednesday last week, said he had been in the taxi industry for the past 20 years.
His brother Annaboy Simayile said he was afraid of continuing working in the taxi industry.
“We also fear that we too as his family could be the next targets.”
Simayile will be buried in Mthatha next weekend. Bellta will hold a memorial service for him on Thursday.