MEC condemns taxi killings

Johannesburg  – Gauteng Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo has condemned killings that are believed to be linked to taxi violence.

  This follows the fatal shooting of three people at a traffic light in Webber Road, Lambton, Germiston, last Friday.

  The incident is suspected to be related to the taxi industry, according to police. 

  Gauteng police spokesperson Capt Kay Makhubele said the shooting happened in full view of witnesses on Friday.

  “It is reported that a gold Nissan with four occupants approached the car at an intersection and multiple shots were fired from the Nissan to the BMW that was driving along Webber Street. The three male victims were shot while they were coming from a meeting, and all were declared dead on the scene,” said Makhubele. 

  Three cases of murder are under investigation.

  Police said Mziwakhe Mbatha, a taxi owner from the Greater Germiston Taxi Association, and two security officers from Vendor Security, Sipho Masondo and Sifiso Mthembu, were shot and killed in Lambton, Germiston.

  Provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela condemned the killing and urged investigators to leave no stone unturned in tracing and arresting the suspects.

  In another incident on Thursday, Derick Mlungisi Kunene from the Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association was shot dead on Chris Hani Road in Dlamini, Soweto. Police said 20 spent cartridges and four bullets were recovered at the scene.

  MEC Mamabolo said he had a meeting with the provincial leadership of the taxi industry, where they expressed deep concern that heinous crimes are being committed against them without any arrests and prosecution. 

  “This creates the impression that their lives are cheap. We remain confident that taxi violence will end soon,” Mamabolo said.

  He added the provincial government had established a commission of inquiry into taxi violence in the province. The inquiry’s mandate is to investigate the root cause of violence among taxi owners and operators and to give recommendations on what action can be taken to curb it.

  “As the commission progresses, we believe time is fast running out for the murderers who will have no place to hide. It is evident from the work of the commission that the latest spate of these heinous crimes constitutes the last kicks of a dying horse,” Mamabolo said.

  He encouraged members of the public to work with the commission and police to end taxi violence.

  “We are confronted with a historically deep-rooted problem that has been neglected for many years, and has now grown a life of its own, not only threatening the taxi industry, but the socio-economic stability of the entire province,” said Mamabolo.

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