File photo: Pixabay
Cape Town – Eerste River community members say they are living in fear amid escalating taxi violence, which claimed the lives of two people yesterday.

Blackheath Taxi Association chairperson Patrick Consani was shot and killed shortly after 6am, as he was leaving his driveway. Minutes later, Consani’s neighbour, who allegedly witnessed the incident, was also shot and killed.

According to a community leader, the neighbour was killed in his car, with his 1-year-old and grandmother inside. Eersteriver CPF chairperson Julian Unthank said the community was concerned about the spate of taxi-related violence over the past weeks.

According to Unthank, the recent incidents were related to taxi route permits. “There are disputes at the moment regarding taxi routes, due to the new housing developments in the area. 

"This has resulted in a number of illegal taxi ranks being operated, and obviously resulted in a lot of conflict.

“The situation is very unsafe and our communities’ lives are at risk. Police are doing what they can, but the blame should be placed squarely on the shoulders of the housing department and traffic departments. 

"They need to intervene immediately so that safety and security becomes a priority to them as well,” Unthank said.

Police spokesperson Frederick van Wyk said yesterday road closures around Buttskop and Vineyard roads were in place and crime experts were combing the scene for clues.

“A shooting incident (yesterday) morning at about 6.04am at Heath Street, Austinville, Blackheath where a 49-year-old man was shot and killed is under investigation. 

'At 6.13am, a shooting incident occurred at Butskopp Road... where a second victim, a 24-year-old man, was shot and killed,” said Van Wyk. 

Police were investigating two murder cases. The motive was unknown and no arrests had been made, he said.

A source from the Blackheath Taxi Association, who asked not to be named, said Consani had been in the taxi industry for about two decades. “Our concern is also with commuters who are affected by this,” he said.

Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela said: “I condemn the killing (of Consani) in the strongest terms. After hearing about this incident, I immediately instructed officials from my department to meet with the leadership of the SA National Taxi Association to discuss how we can jointly work towards ensuring calm in the area and to prevent any acts of retaliation,” said Madikizela.

“We will work closely with the police and other law enforcement authorities to rid the minibus taxi industry of the criminals behind these callous acts.” 

Anyone with information can anonymously contact Crime Stop at 08600 10111 or SMS Crime Line at 32211.