Durban — The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) said everyone was now toeing the line in the taxi associations within the iLembe region, including the Dolphin Coast Taxi Association.
Last week, the Durban High Court sentenced two hitmen to life imprisonment and 10 years for killing Dustin Pillay, who was an executive member of this taxi association and taxi owner.
However, the deaths of about eight people who were killed before Pillay have not been resolved. Pillay’s family was the first one to get justice. This was revealed in court by his father.
“I’m aware that no one was arrested for the other deaths at Shakaskraal,” he said.
The family had asked not to be named for safety reasons.
Santaco’s provincial spokesperson, Sifiso Shangase, said there was now peace at the Dolphin Coast Taxi Association. He said that last week they celebrated two years of peace, after a peace accord was signed within that region and before the celebration cleansing ceremonies were done.
“We had to wait for two years to see if the peace accord continues, and it went very well, and we have not lost a single life,” he said.
He said it would not be easy for anyone to commit any crime as everyone was now united. Speaking about the unresolved murderers, he said with this peace, he hoped that people would be able to come up and speak. He said in the peace accord they committed to never go back to the struggle of killing each other.
Moreover, the state senior prosecutor, advocate Elvis Gcweka, had told the court that solving taxi violence crimes was hard as taxi violence was rife in the province.
Human rights advocate and activist Mary de Haas said there was no political will to deal with the taxi industry and include proper regulation.
“They may use taxi hitmen in targeting political enemies. Action to deal with the industry needs political will, starting with proper regulation of the taxi industry and tackling collusion with criminal taxi operators and corruption in the Department of Transport and police,” she said.
Department of Transport provincial spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said they were concerned that some cases in Shakaskraal remained unsolved.
“We believe that quality investigation in cases involving the taxi industry is required. We are, however, encouraged by the work of the police’s Taxi Task Team. In some cases, they have made breakthroughs, and hitmen have been sentenced,” he said.
Ncalane said they had also involved the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) in the vetting of all security companies in the taxi industry.
“This is informed by our belief that some of the hitmen are disguising as securities. We are also worried about the monies that are being collected in taxi ranks. This is fuelling tensions and is causing never-ending power struggles. As part of the way forward, government and the industry are piloting a cashless system to regulate payment,” said Ncalane.
In 2022, Minister of Police Bheki Cele established a task team to squash the taxi violence.
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