Taxi leader shooting in Cape Town leaves 5-year-old paralysed
Cape Town - A 5-Year-old girl has been left paralysed after a recent murder of a taxi leader.
The family of the taxi leader, whose name is known to Weekend Argus, said they were still traumatised and could not understand why children were also “callously” shot in the incident. The man was with his two daughters, a 5-year-old and a 13-year-old, who suffered slight injuries to her left arm, when gunmen shot at them outside their home in Elsies River on Thursday.
A family member called on law enforcement authorities to leave no stone unturned in the investigation into the murder.
“An innocent child is now paralysed from her neck downward as the bullet hit her spinal cord. He was dedicated to the taxi industry and the community. Thugs cannot be left to roam the streets while communities and families are robbed of their loved ones. We need justice to be served,” he said.
Meanwhile, slain Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) President Victor Wiwi had survived numerous attempts on his life before.
But he had remained resolute to continue to be in the taxi industry as he had maintained that was where he belonged. This was what family spokesperson Sibongiseni Lusani said, who joined other taxi industry operators, leaders and family members in a prayer service to pay homage to Wiwi at his home yesterday.
“At the height of the taxi violence in the early 1990s we as a family begged him to leave the industry as he was being targeted and we feared for his life. But his response was that death was unavoidable,” Lusani said.
Wiwi and two others were shot while travelling in the direction of Nyanga on April 7. One of the copassengers was also killed while the other suffered injuries.
He had just returned from a meeting with the Laingsburg municipality.
In the Wiwi house, the mood was sombre as taxi operators, family members and friends gathered to pay homage to him.
A Cata executive member, who was scheduled to travel with Wiwi on the day but was tied up in other business, said he was leaving the industry as he no longer felt safe.
A visibly-shaken Japan Roro broke down as he told Transport MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela that it was time to quit the taxi industry after 53 years.
“So many people have died in the industry lately. I joined this taxi industry in 1968. But I can no longer be part of it,” said Roro.
According to the provincial transport department 25 taxi-related murders and 11 attempted murders had been recorded since January.
While police are still looking for Wiwi’s killers, Lusani said family members were not hopeful of any breakthrough in the investigation.
“We’re in the dark, we have not been kept abreast of what is happening. We also cannot access his belongings, including his wallet and ID, that were in the car and that will affect our preparations for the funeral,” added Lusani.
Madikizela vowed that provincial authorities, under the leadership of Safety MEC Albert Fritz, would work hard to ensure that the perpetrators would be brought to book.
Madikizela said the current trend in taxi-related incidents showed that “the assassinations were targeted at certain leaders”.
He said the recent murders could not just be described as “violence” associated with fighting over taxi routes.
“We cannot speculate as to the motive of the killings. The police must assist us in getting to the bottom of this. Wiwi’s death is a blow to our attempts to instil stability and calm in the taxi industry. He was committed to those efforts,” said Madikizela.
“It is essential that we have a stable taxi industry in the province as more than half of public transport users depend on taxis.
“I am working towards ensuring that this sector also enjoys a government subsidy. But they too, will have to commit to having it run professionally, and abide by laws and regulations,” he added.
Other speakers at the service described Wiwi as a “dependable, kind and committed person” who was loyal to the taxi industry, which he joined in the early 1980s.
“We must remain focused on our drive to bring stability to the industry which is huge,” urged Madikizela.
No date had been set for Wiwi’s funeral, but the family said it would take place in the Eastern Cape around May 1.
A memorial service is being planned for next week.