File Picture: Tracey Adams: African News Agency

Johannesburg - The National Taxi Association (NTA) has accused the taxi industry of orchestrating the violence that continues to kill drivers and passengers.  

This comes in the wake of the violence that claimed the lives of five people while nine others, including a police officer, were injured when gunmen opened fire on taxi drivers and passengers on Monday.

The NTA said the violence claimed innocent lives, but the loss of life and the butchering of taxi drivers and passengers, benefited nobody in the industry. 

The first incident occurred around 5am near the Plaza Taxi Rank in Olievenhoutbosh, when the driver of a taxi patrol vehicle was shot while his three passengers were injured.

Around 12 hours later just before 7pm, a vehicle with no registration numbers allegedly stopped alongside a stationary taxi on Ruimte Road and Appiesdoring Streets, Heuweloord in Wierdabrug. 

Three gunmen fired shots at the taxi, killing three passengers.

Police said the suspects then escaped in the same vehicle.

"In the meantime, a police member was shot and critically wounded at round about the same time as the incident on Ruimte Street in Olievenhoutbosch when shots were allegedly fired randomly from an unknown vehicle. Six other victims sustained injuries, while one person was declared dead on the scene."

The NTA blamed the carnage on the shoulders of "greedy" operators.

According to spokesperson Theo Malele, whenever taxi drivers leave their homes for work, they did so oblivious to the tragedy that could befall them and their passengers.

"The taxi industry has for far too long being killing it's own members, leaders, employees and innocent people and they can't show the benefits of their lynching, butcher and fratricide.

"All these acts of barbarism are resourced by the very same taxi industry that hires hitmen using their ordinary members of association's funds.

"The NTA calls on it's members to steer clear of violence and instead advocate for dialogue a means of resolving differences. We can't sit and watch people lose their lives like it's fashionable."

According to the association, the government is not taking taxi-related murders seriously.

"If it's politically motivated murder, they make sure that they apprehend the killers swiftly," he said.

The Star