Fight to quell taxi violence continues after three taxi bosses killed in a week
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Cape Town - The provincial Department of Transport and police seem to be struggling to quell taxi violence in the province as killings continue unabated with three taxi bosses killed in separate incidents in the past week.
Two taxi owners were shot and killed in the Nyanga precinct at the weekend, a day after a taxi owner, Mhlangenqaba Mbolompo, 56, from New Crossroads, was shot and killed in his home.
Police spokesperson André Traut said the two, aged 52 and 40, were shot and killed in their Toyota Etios in 6th Avenue, Nyanga, by unknown gunmen who have yet to be arrested.
He said the circumstances surrounding the incident were being investigated.
Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) secretary Mandla Hermanus said the two owners belonged to the Cata executive committee, whereas Mbolompo was an executive member of another association.
Hermanus said the two were at the taxi rank when the occupants of a Toyota Avanza allegedly followed and shot and killed them.
"We do not know where it stemmed from, and we haven't had any meetings since last year," said Hermanus.
When a taxi operator was killed, they did not even hear the police conducting their 72-hour strategy or manhunt for the suspects, he said.
"Nothing is being done to help us," said Hermanus.
ANC provincial spokesperson on community safety Mesuli Kama said the Nyanga killings were not an isolated incident, but were similar to killings across the province.
"Everyone knows that at the centre of the differences are contested routes which the provincial government has failed to resolve for years," said Kama.
He called on the justice system and the police to establish task teams to address the issue of taxi violence before it spiralled out of control. Kama said the Department of Transport needed to put measures in place urgently to quell the rising tensions.
Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela said the criminal acts had to be condemned, and the leaders of the minibus taxi industry had a responsibility to ensure that their members operated within the law and in accordance with their constitution and signed code of conduct.
Madikizela said since his appointment as the Transport and Public Works MEC he had been meeting with the taxi industry leadership to gain first-hand knowledge of the challenges experienced by the leadership, owners and operators in the taxi industry.
He said his department had established a sound working relationship with the police, traffic authorities, the National Prosecuting Authority and the SA Revenue Service to identify and address the root causes of taxi violence and murder, including illegal operations, route invasions, weak legislation and simple greed on the part of self-styled war-lords and gatekeepers in the minibus taxi industry.
Anyone with information that could assist in the investigation is urged to contact the Crime Stop number 0860010111 or via the MySAPSApp.