Cape taxi killings linked to increasing reports of extortion, says Madikizela
Cape Town - The ongoing taxi conflict that has seen several mass shootings in the townships have claimed more lives with five people shot dead at the taxi rank in Nyanga.
The shooting on Monday night came hours after a gunman opened fire at the Cape Town station deck taxi rank on wounded seven people. There are also suggestions that the taxi conflict is related to an extortion racket run by local gangsters targeting businesses and ordinary people.
Soon after that incident at the station deck, two suspects aged 31 and 39 were apprehended, and a firearm was confiscated. Both suspects are expected to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court this morning.
Police spokesperson Novela Potelwa said when the taxi task team attached to provincial detectives were probing a shooting incident that occurred on Monday evening at the Nyanga terminus, reports from the scene revealed that seven people were sitting in a taxi in Sihlanu Avenue, near the Nyanga Terminus, when the gunmen approached and fired numerous shots at them. She said four men between the ages of 30 and 36 died on the scene. Three others were taken to a medical facility after sustaining serious injuries.
A fifth victim died in hospital. Two other victims who sustained injuries remain in hospital. She said the motive for the incident was believed to be taxi-related conflict.
Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela said soon after he heard about the incidents, he called an urgent meeting with the leaders of the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata), Congress of Democratic Taxi Association (Codeta) and the provincial SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) to express his grave concerns about to their inability or unwillingness to stop the senseless violence.
“These crimes include increasing reports of extortion by criminal elements allegedly aligned to Cata and Codeta. Authorities have been inundated with complaints from staff and learner transport operators, as well as private companies, of their vehicles being stopped at roadblocks set up by uniformed taxi industry patrollers in marked vehicles, who impose fines or ‘release fees’ after redirecting vehicles to the ranks that they control,” Madikizela said.
He said the recent incidents bring the total number of taxi-related murders in the Western Cape to 92 since the start of the year, with attempted murders and injuries at 51 over the same period.
“The police have assigned a dedicated team of detectives to investigate taxi-related crimes. This team has made good progress over the last few years, with some 120 arrests since the start 2018 and 70 cases currently on the court rolls.”
Guy Lamb, a criminologist at Stellenbosch University’s political science department, said the taxi violence and violent competition between taxi associations has always been a challenge for the government.
It is not just a police matter, but the police needed to deal with criminal aspects related to it.