Cape Town - The deadly war between rival taxi associations in Delft claimed its latest life on Friday morning, when a Philippi East taxi driver was gunned down outside his house.

Mphumzi Qotoyi, 39, was shot dead at 4.26am in Ntabazokhwahlambo Road.

Witnesses saw two men fleeing on foot.

Police liaison officer Captain FC van Wyk said Qotoyi had been shot twice in the head and once in the neck.

“A murder case was opened for investigation. There have not been any arrests as yet. The motive of the incident is unknown.”

This morning, Qotoyi’s family gathered at the home to grieve. His taxi operated under a Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) licence and drove the route between Nyanga and Delft, his brother Mthobi Qotoyi said.

Cata is the only association that can provide this service legally but the rival Delft Taxi Association (DTA) has been challenging Cata’s monopoly in the area.

In recent months, this battle for routes and turf has resulted in shootings and murders, mostly in and around Delft’s main taxi rank.

Qotoyi started work in this “war zone” in January. He was scared, his family said, because he had seen colleagues killed. Some mornings he did not want to go out until it was light.

“It is relatively rare for the shootings to happen so far outside Delft,” Mthobi said. “I think they are now targeting the owners. They wanted to get me but instead they got my brother.

“It is heartbreaking for us because he was a good man who loved making jokes. Now we continue to feel threatened, because we do not know who the enemy is, what they look like. I feel like they could strike again.”

Mphumzi Qotoyi leaves a 3-year-old child.

His brother called on the government to intervene and to help bring an end to the violence.

The war for control of the taxi service to Delft has been raging for more than 18 months as operators working under the banner of the DTA try to wrest control from Cata.

After Delft residents marched last year to protest against the violence, Transport MEC Robin Carlisle blamed illegal operators.

“There are disruptive elements who do not have taxi operating licences and who think they can get them by force,” Carlisle explained at the time.

They had cleared up corruption at the taxi licensing board, which meant the number of operating licences had grown by less than 1 percent over the past four years. They had also impounded 4 000 illegal taxis.

But in that time, Cape Town’s population had grown considerably, resulting in a significant growth in the businesses of legal taxi operators.

“But this was always destined to result in a sharp battle for control in the taxi industry,” Carlisle said. “This started to turn nasty and people started to die. The people of Delft are in the crossfire.”

Cape Argus