VREDEBES residents in Ceres came out in their numbers on Wednesday for the memorial service of the five Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) taxi operators who were recently gunned down.
Four died on the scene and one at a hospital when three gunmen last Tuesday opened fire “indiscriminately” at a local taxi.
The memorial service held outside the Nduli township came just a day after another bloody shooting where a taxi driver was shot dead and a four-year-old boy wounded by a stray bullet.
Police spokesperson Andrè Traut said the circumstances surrounding a murder and attempted murder were being investigated following an incident on Tuesday morning at about 7am in Eluxolweni Street, Nduli.
According to residents, about three men approached the taxi which carried school children, and one fired several shots. The driver died on the scene while the boy is still fighting for his life at a hospital.
Traut said the suspects, who fled the scene, were yet to be arrested.
The heart of the dispute is believed to be about route control.
Ward councillor Nomzame Phatsoane said the area remained tense following the incidents and residents were worried about retaliation attacks.
“We are still shocked and seriously concerned that more innocent people could get caught in this, especially children. This conflict needs an urgent solution. Commuters cannot live in fear because it seems like they just randomly shoot and don’t care about passengers.”
Cata general-secretary Mandla Hermanus could not confirm yesterday if the driver killed on Tuesday was their member while Codeta said it had not received a report of that nature in Ceres.
“I’m not aware yet of another shooting besides the one the five people. We appreciate the support shown by community members and organisations who voiced their concerns. As Cata, we strongly condemned these killings, and we have urged community members to assist the police should they have any information that will help to identify the killers.
“We have also heard concerns about SAPS members who own taxis in the area through proxies. We will seek a meeting with the station commander in due course, to look at these allegations, as well as to look at ways to bring peace in that area,” said Hermanus.
Santaco provincial chairperson Gershon Geyer also condemned the shootings.
“Santaco and other relevant stakeholders are still engaging in efforts to bring an end to the current conflict as innocent lives are affected. A meeting was recently and I’m still waiting for details of the outcomes as I couldn’t attend due to health related issues,” said Geyer.
Any person with information regarding both incidents can anonymously contact Crime Stop on 0860 010 111 or SMS Crime Line on 32211.