MEC vows to act decisively on taxi violence in Tshwane
LIAM NGOBENI AND GOITSEMANG TLHABYE
Roads and Transport MEC for Gauteng, Jacob Mamabolo, has vowed to deal with the spiralling taxi violence, which has led to three shootings in the past two weeks in Tshwane.
Mamabolo said the capital city had the biggest problem with taxi violence in the province, citing Atteridgeville, Ga-Rankuwa, CBD, Centurion and Erasmuskloof.
Speaking to Pretoria News during a visit to the Denneboom rank, he said: “In the whole province ...Tshwane is the worst in terms of taxi violence. I will be here before the end of September, and there won't be any more violence in Tshwane,” he promised.
In the past week, there was a shooting in Atteridgeville as well as in the CBD. The latest incident, the fatal shooting of a taxi driver, took place in Rosslyn on Wednesday.
SA National Taxi Council spokesperson MacDonald Makata said they had sent staff members to assess what happened. Although not clear if the recent shooting was related to the ongoing taxi violence taking place in the city, he said SANTACO saw the need to investigate all the shootings to see if they were linked.
What they did suspect, was that there were clashes due to a struggle of powerhouses in the industry over certain routes. The organisation, he said, condemned the murders and was calling on government to regulate the taxi industry without further delay.
“We know that the MEC for Roads and Transport (Mamabolo) is busy with regulating the industry, but it can't wait any longer; it has to be done now. It is actually the government's duty to provide transportation to the people and put a stop to this.”
SAPS provincial spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo said the latest incident occurred at about 4.50am at the corner of the R566 road and Doreen Avenue.
Multiple shots were allegedly fired by assailants driving a Toyota Conquest. “The two unknown occupants in the Conquest overtook the driver, then fired the shots which killed the driver of the Quantum,” he said.
“A case of murder has been opened, and police have launched a manhunt for the two suspects. The motive for the killing cannot be confirmed at this stage, but the incident is suspected to be related to taxi violence,” Masondo said.
Mamabolo said the government would have to shut down taxi associations and place them under administration. “I am going to enforce the court order in Tshwane. Leaders collect association money only to fund assassins,” he said vowing to take control of the situation decisively.
“This peace we are seeing in Mamelodi must be permanent. The big worry I have is in three areas in Tshwane. In Atteridgeville, there is an increase in killings and, in one association, they must know their days are numbered because they are using its money, not their money to do these dirty jobs.”
“Next week, I am in Atteridgeville and will deal with this once and for all.”
Mamabolo said Centurion was also a concern as there had been setbacks. “I will also clamp down and attend to them next week as well. We also have problems around Bosman (Street), in Ga-Rankuwa, there is an association in Erasmuskloof whose issues we are aware of, we are on their trail.
“Taxi violence will not disappear overnight; it will require rigorous effort even with the community.” Mamabolo said he was pleased with the progress made so far, but he receives threats of violence every day .
Taxi operators would not be allowed to threaten public peace, he said, warning “they must be very careful.”