Picture: James Mahlokwane

Pretoria - The gruesome murder of 21-year-old Taxify driver, Siyabonga Ngcobo, was a barbaric act that has shocked people and those responsible must be punished, said MEC for Transport Ismail Vadi. 

Vadi and MEC for Community Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane were visiting the Ngcobo family that was still mourning. Ngcobo was killed last Thursday night in Sunnyside on his first week as a cab driver.

Ngcobo was in his final year in Sports Management at the Tshwane University of Technology and will be buried on Sunday in KwaZulu-Natal.

"This is a very painful experience to come and speak with the family. On behalf of the Gauteng provincial government we are deeply shocked. We are hurt. We are here comfort the family and express our sincere condolences,"

"You can't take a young man who is 21-year-old. Who is in his final year of studies. Who is earning a living to help his studies. You kidnap that person and put him in a boot and you set the car on fire,"

Vadi said what happened to Ngcobo was inhuman and he wondered what kind of human beings would attack a young person with a bright future in that nature,' let alone especially a young person who had the potential to contribute positively to society.

"This is not a human behaviour and therefore we must draw a line on this one as the Gauteng provincial government. This violence has been going on for some time, between Uber, Taxify and Metered Taxis. People think they can do as they want to do, "

He said the Department of Transport did not know for sure who was the suspect but should it eventually turn out that the culprit was part of the metered taxi operators, the department would not hesitate to shutdown all operations of metered taxis drivers in the province.

"We can't carry on like this. We can't have barbarism and barbaric behavior being a new norm to resolve what is basically a business dispute. It's a commercial interest matter, we can't allow lives to be taken in this kind of way. It is just unacceptable,"

Uber and Taxify drivers blamed the death of the Ngcobo on metered taxi drivers and said it was about time there was serious political to combat this war. 

MEC Nkosi-Malobane said the special task force set up by Premier David Makhura last year to deal with this conflict was effective and made arrests. 

To assure public faith, government would publish the information about arrests made. Releasing the information to the public domain would show people that the task team had been proactive, she explained. 

Vadi said Uber and Taxify drivers came in numbers to register for permits but metered taxi drivers were sluggish in making  attempts to obtain permits.

Ngcobo's aunt Nosipho Mthemjwa said the family was hurting and had little to say on the matter, except that they were grateful of support shown by politicians and the public.

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