Police stand guard at the Ladysmith taxi rank following a murder and attempted murder of drivers from rival taxi associations.
Durban - KwaZulu-Natal MEC for the Department of Transport, Community Safety and Liaison is set to intervene in the dispute between rival taxi associations in Ladysmith that has since claimed the life of one man and left another critically wounded.

Police sources said on Monday a man was shot multiple times in his legs and back in Helpmekaar Road.

“Fourteen spent rifle cartridges and 12 pistol spent cartridges were found at the scene. The man was rushed to hospital and a case of attempted murder was opened at the Ladysmith police station,” the source said.

It is alleged the shooting was in retaliation for the murder of a 48-year-old man who was gunned down in Insephe Street.

The source revealed that when police arrived at the scene, they found the deceased, who is a member of the Klip River Taxi Association, still seated inside the vehicle.

“The man sustained a gunshot wound to the head while at least 12 spent rifle cartridges were found at the scene. The matter has been handed over to eZakheni police for further investigation,” the source said.

A resident, who asked not to be named, said police had moved into the taxi rank because there were threats going back and forth between the two associations. Calm was restored by the police presence.

She said the violence had not impacted travel but residents feared that once police were deployed to other areas, the violence could flare up.

MEC Bheki Ntuli had expressed concern and disappointment with the latest incidents which included a shoot-out between operators on Monday night.

No deaths or injuries were reported.

Ntuli said Ladysmith was one of the areas that was receiving maximum attention from the department.

“Even during the festive season, we regarded it as a flashpoint area and ensured that police visibility was high. The recent developments were disappointing, however, we are doing all we can to bring the two parties together,” he said.

Ntuli condemned the acts of violence, saying he believed that it could cause instability and bloodshed in the industry.

“Our public transport team is monitoring developments and will compile a report and brief the MEC on the recommendations,” department spokesperson, Kwanele Ncalane said.

The South Africa National Taxi Council has condemned the violence.

Chairperson Boy Zondi condemned the recent incidents.

“We encourage rival groups to sit down and discuss their matters rather than resort to violence. These are matters that can be resolved amicably,” he said.

The Mercury