Bosses play down 'taxi war'
Cape Town - Taxi bosses have downplayed a looming war over operating routes despite the shooting to death of four taxi drivers in a week in Langa.
They believe a task team the provincial transport department established will deal with the tension among its members.
On Thirsday, two taxi drivers were shot dead and nine schoolchildren hit by stray bullets when the unknown gunmen opened fire in the crowded Langa taxi rank during the morning peak.
Before that incident two more drivers were shot and killed in separate incidents.
One driver was shot last Sunday, and another one last week Thursday.
Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) provincial chairperson Victor Wiwi said the association’s executive committee will visit the taxi rank to get to the bottom of what transpired.
“What happened is shocking and very sad. We will meet with the members and restore calm. We will make sure nothing of this nature happens again,” said Wiwi.
Police spokesperson Andre Traut said the incident is believed to be related to taxi routes.
He said nine people between the ages of 15 and 45 were injured and admitted to hospital for treatment.
Traut said the suspected gunmen fled the scene and had yet to be arrested.
Police management has established a task team that has taken over the murder and attempted murder investigations.
When the Cape Times visited the scene, police visibility had been enhanced and there were two nyalas and three police vans stationed at the Libalele taxi rank.
Other police vans could be seen patrolling the streets.
A witness, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, said she was at the taxi rank waiting to board a minibus taxi to work when a group of about five men started firing shots randomly.
“It seems as if these gunmen knew who they were looking for, because they arrived and started shooting at their target.
“There were children going to school. Information is that the shooting is because of taxi wars. Our safety is compromised.
“It’s now becoming scary to use that taxi rank because in less than three weeks four drivers have been shot dead,” she said.
Transport MEC Donald Grant said: “We suspect that this was a targeted attack, with bystanders being caught in the crossfire.”
Grant said the shooting “also threatens to disrupt public transport even further”, which he said “is already under severe strain”.
Grant said the provincial transport registrar instituted an inquiry against members of Cata, who operated on the Langa routes, “who are believed to be part of the ongoing dispute”.
“This inquiry will determine whether the association involved should be suspended or deregistered if the circumstances support this,” said Grant.
He said he intended to publish a notice to close down routes or ranks as a result of persistent violent conflict.
Anyone with information is requested to contact Crime Line on 0860010111.