Cape Town - The SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) in the province is calling on Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to intervene in the ongoing taxi war that has claimed multiple lives and left scores wounded.
The organisation believes that the current MEC for Transport and Public Works was in over his head and not able to stem the violence.
Sanco provincial spokesperson Akhona Jonginamba said it was high time Mbalula intervened, because they had no trust that MEC Daylin Mitchell had requisite capacity to find a permanent solution.
One of the drivers, who did not want to be named, warned commuters not to use minibus taxis for their safety.
The driver alleged that some taxi operators had been shot in Maitland, and near the N2. He said one of the operators from Mfuleni was fighting for his life at a hospital in Maitland.
Police spokesperson Joseph Swartbooi confirmed that Maitland police were investigating a case of attempted murder.
According to reports, unknown males on foot fired many gunshots at a taxi travelling in the direction of Cape Town on Wednesday.
Swartbooi said the driver of the vehicle, however, continued driving and reported the incident to Maitland police. Three passengers – 26, 32, and 41 years old – sustained gunshot wounds to the body.
He said in an unrelated matter unknown suspects fired shots at a taxi near Downs Road in Manenberg at about 7:45am. A 31-year-old man sustained gunshot wounds to his chest.
“Manenberg police is investigating a case of attempted murder. The victims in both instances were transported to a nearby hospital for medical treatment. The suspects fled the scene and are yet to be arrested,” Swartbooi said.
Chaos also erupted at the Cape Town station deck yesterday, with gunshots forcing people to flee for safety, and as a result sparking fears of looting at a nearby mall.
Swartbooi said an argument had erupted between disgruntled drivers of rival associations at the rank.
“Gunshots were allegedly discharged by occupants of a white Quantum who fled the scene.”
In another incident, safety and security Mayco member JP Smith said a metro police officer was shot in Sweet Home informal settlement, as he was among a group of officers giving chase to a group of suspects who had been shooting at taxis along Jakes Gerwel Drive.
Smith said the officer sustained a bullet wound to the leg and was currently receiving medical attention.
He said that was one of a number of incidents in the ongoing taxi conflict that had left a number of people dead in recent days.
The recent shootings came a day after nine people were shot – three of them fatally – in suspected taxi-related shootings.
Meanwhile, Mitchell said they were committed to finding a lasting resolution to the ongoing dispute between the two taxi associations – Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta).
Mitchell said that they would not stand by and allow violence to continue unabated. That is why he had already gazetted a notice, in terms of Section 91 of the National Land Transport Act, that would empower him, after consultation with the police, to close certain routes and ranks.
“I await public comment in terms of the act,” said Mitchell.
He said they were also applying for an interdict in the Western Cape High Court to prevent illegal taxi operators.
Cata spokesperson Andile Seyamo said their vehicles would stop operating, and that the service would only resume when the ongoing taxi violence is quelled.
However, Codeta spokesperson Andile Khanyi said their services would in operation.