Picture: Boxer Ngwenya/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg - The member of the executive council for transport in Gauteng province, Ismail Vadi, plans to close down affected public taxi ranks and routes as violence between warring associations continues unabated in Soweto.

Clashes between the Witwatersrand African Taxi Association (Wata) and Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association (Nanduwe) left three Wata members dead in January, Vadi said.

''The Gauteng provincial government will not allow a situation where alleged hitmen are hired to attack taxi leaders, commuters and taxi operators with impunity," he said.

"Members of rival associations allegedly attack one another and damage vehicles. Ordinary Soweto commuters and residents are being intimidated and harmed by this violence. We are clear that the law enforcement agencies will come down hard on those who perpetrate acts of violence in the taxi industry.''

On Tuesday, six people were shot at and 10 vehicles damaged during attacks on minibus taxis. Another attack took place last month in Diepkloof, leaving several vehicles damaged by a hail of bullets. 

Vadi closed ranks and routes for one month in July 2017 and they were only re-opened after Wata and Nanduwe signed an agreement promising to desist from acts of violence and intimidation.

A notice on the planned closures will be published in the provincial government gazette. Interested persons should submit written responses or representations by March 8, said Vadi.

''Should we proceed with the intended closures, taxi services along the affected routes in Soweto will be suspended from 9 March 2019 until 8 June 2019," he said.

"No person shall be allowed to undertake passenger road transport services at the affected ranks and on the identified routes during that period.''

African News Agency/ANA