Cape Town taxi war turns deadly

Published Apr 17, 2015


Cape Town - An escalating feud between rival taxi associations has left one man dead and four men injured after separate shootouts in Delft and Westlake on Thursday morning.

There are now fears the violence will continue as operators have threatened to take revenge.

Both incidents were still under investigation as of Thursday evening, police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said.

The taxi industry has been gripped by an all-out war as the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and the Congress for Democratic Taxi Association clashed over lucrative routes in Retreat on Monday.

Cata spokesman Michael Matyala said the rival association’s drivers had begun encroaching on their “turf” in Westlake, Retreat and Tokai over the past couple of months. Despite reporting the drivers to authorities, such as the police who have acknowledged the organisations are the legal operators in the area, he claimed Cata’s members were left to fend for themselves.

On Monday, they took to the area’s Main Road, lighting fires and blocking traffic. They were eventually chased from the streets. On Thursday, more protesters converged on Kirstenhof police station and began picketing over the impounding of nine of their vehicles on Monday, said Van Wyk.

But before they even arrived at the station, drivers from the Westlake Taxi Association were left reeling after two of their members were shot.

Siyamcela Nogantsho was sitting his car when he heard the gunshots. He flinched as the bullets punctured the chassis of his sedan which was parked on Lynx Road in Westlake. It was 6am and he had been parked at the informal taxi rank in the area. When the shooting finally stopped, it was too dark to see what happened.

“But I got out and that’s when I found they had been shot.”

Youngman Fodo and Thembinkosi Matyolo, two owners belonging to the association which is a branch of Cata, had been shot in the legs. Nogantsho carried the pair to his car and sped off to a nearby hospital.

On Thursday, hospital attendants said both men would require surgery at some point but were doing well in the meantime.

“I think they will recover,” Nogantsho said, still shaken by the experience. “I was scared to be sitting there. They shot 14 times, I could have been hit.”

Drivers in the area said rivals were behind the attempted “hit”.

But the association’s chairman, Hudson Mlungwana, said they were not a violent organisation.

“We don’t want any bloodshed. That is not the way we work… But they have been stealing our business.”

Van Wyk said that police were investigating the shooting which had left the two taxi operators critically injured.

Witnesses said there had been two gunmen and that they had posed as customers boarding taxis during the morning rush.

In Delft, a man in his early 50s was fatally shot and two men aged 48 and 51 were injured by gunshot on Delft’s Main Road at 10.30am on Thursday, Van Wyk said.

Additional reporting by Emily Huizenga

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Cape Argus

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