There have been an alarming 92 taxi-related murders, and 51 attempted murders and injuries, in the Western Cape since the start of the calendar year, reports Western Cape Transport MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela.
In a statement on Tuesday [November 24], Madikizela condemned the recent killing of four taxi operators in Nyanga on Monday evening [November 23], which followed soon after six people were injured in a shooting at taxis at the Cape Town Station Deck on the same day.
Madikizela said this senseless violence must come to an end, and has enlisted a number of leaders in the taxi industry to get to the bottom of the problem.
“I have called an urgent meeting with the leaders of CATA, CODETA and the SA National Taxi Council’s (SANTACO) Western Cape Branch to express my grave concerns with regards to their inability or unwillingness to stop the senseless violence,” he said.
“I will also be meeting senior officials from enforcement authorities including the SAPS, Metro Police and Traffic, as well as regulatory authorities, the Provincial Taxi Registrar and the Provincial Regulatory Entity, to plan a coordinated, inter-governmental response to the violence and other crimes associated with the minibus taxi industry. These crimes include increasing reports of extortion by criminal elements allegedly aligned to CATA and CODETA.”
According to Madikizela, authorities have been inundated with complaints from staff and learner transport operators, as well as private companies, of their vehicles being stopped at ‘roadblocks’ set up by uniformed taxi industry ‘patrollers’ in marked vehicles, who impose ‘fines’ or ‘release fees’ after redirecting vehicles to the ranks that they control.
“These criminal acts must be condemned and the leaders of the minibus taxi industry have a responsibility to ensure that their members operate within the law and in accordance with their constitution and signed code of conduct,” he added.
“The current spate of violence and killing jeopardises the agreements between my Department and the taxi industry leadership structure, including a financial agreement in terms of which the Department supports the leadership with meeting allowances, office space and administrative support.”
The South African Police Service (SAPS) has assigned a dedicated team of detectives to investigate taxi related crimes. This team has made good progress over the last few years, with some 120 arrests since the start 2018 and 70 cases currently on the court rolls.
Picture: SA Taxi