One of the three men who were shot and killed in Bellville. Picture: Leon Knipe
One of the three men who were shot and killed in Bellville. Picture: Leon Knipe

Call to quell rising tensions after three dead, one hurt in taxi-related shooting

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Feb 18, 2021

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Cape Town - Taxi shootings continue unabated with the latest the killing of three people and wounding of another on the corner of Voortrekker and Charl Malan Roads in Bellville.

Police spokesperson Andre Traut said the incident which occurred on Tuesday, left one bystander wounded and recovering in hospital while a 32-year-old suspect was arrested and questioned.

“Two stolen firearms were recovered after the incident and three licensed firearms were confiscated for further investigation.”

SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) provincial spokesperson Gershon Geyer denounced the killings and violence in the industry.

"We hope that the law enforcement agencies will find the perpetrators and bring them to book. Reasons for this current spate of shootings are still unclear.”

The shooting comes after a letter allegedly from Congress of Democratic Taxi Association (Codeta) warning Toyota Avanza, Uber, Honda and other private vehicle drivers they would not be allowed to transport people in “Codeta's territory, failure to obey would get them a harsher punishment or fine”.

ANC provincial spokesperson for community safety, Mesuli Kama, said the Transport Department needed to urgently put measures in place to quell the rising tensions between taxi operators.

"We need to prioritise the safety of commuters, drivers and taxi bosses,” he said as he called on police and the Department of Transport to intervene.

After the letter made rounds on social media on Tuesday night, Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela held a meeting with the leaders of Codeta.

“I am very happy that there is an agreement to retract that letter, and also there was a commitment to work towards finding some resolutions in those concerns.”

Codeta secretary Leslie Sikhuphela said they acknowledged the notice was badly written, saw the errors and agreed to retract it.

Madikizela said his department would brief counsel to take on criminal elements in taxi associations and groupings who acted as a law unto themselves by brazenly hijacking and extorting payments from legally operating buses and taxis in what they declared to be their territory.

“Enforcement and transport authorities will do everything possible to ensure that commuter safety at public transport facilities and in vehicles is prioritised.

“I call on the majority of law abiding taxi operators to identify the criminals - hitmen and paymasters who tarnish the image of an industry and of operators who seek to earn a living through offering a much needed service to the poorest communities.”

An Uber spokesperson said any intimidation against people who wanted to use the Uber app was unacceptable.

“The safety of our riders and driver-partners is a top priority and we have a number of safety features available, including the access to an in-app emergency button and 24/7 in-app support.

"Our law enforcement relations team is on call to work with police at any time to respond to urgent needs. We encourage driver-partners and riders to report any incidents of intimidation to Uber and the police to ensure these issues can be resolved.”

Cape Argus

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