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Around 43 taxi-related murders this year alone

There have been at least 43 taxi-related murders and 20 cases of attempted murder in Paarl, Delft, Bellville, Bloekombos, Ceres, Masiphumelele and Nyanga this year alone.

These cases involve either Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta) and/or Cape Amalgamated Taxi Associations (Cata) and affiliated associations.

According to Transport MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela, the police have arrested 97 suspects in cases involving taxi-related crime and, by 22 July, 47 cases were on the court roll.

“Cata and Codeta are central to most criminal cases that are being investigated by the police. Seventy-five percent of criminal cases to date involve Cata-affiliated members and 20% of criminal cases to date involve Codeta-affiliated members.”

Madikizela met with the Western Cape Branch of the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) as well as “mother bodies” Codeta and Cata taxi associations on 22 July. The move was an attempt to try and find solutions to ongoing taxi violence that have been escalating in the province.

Madikizela wanted to know what the taxi associations believed were the reasons behind the killings, and what would make them stop and what they were doing to stop them.

Both Cata and Codeta admitted some of the challenges include recruitment of members to join rival associations and take over routes operated by the other. The “mother bodies” also raised issues of outstanding permits and a lack of enforcement in certain areas.

Officials of the Department of Transport and Public Works asked the industry leaders to provide them with details of any outstanding operating licence applications so any blockages in its processing can be addressed.

Officials added that last year the Western Cape Provincial Regulatory Entity (PRE) had processed 99% of applications within less than 60 days, with an average turnaround time of 32 days. The legislated turnaround time for processing applications for new operating licences is 90 days.

In response to the industry’s demands for legalising long serving illegal operators, the Transport Department is finalising arrangements for engaging municipal planning authorities on the issue of additional demand created as a result of the failure of rail and other factors.

Maikizela said his department is seriously concerned about the escalating violence between the province’s two biggest “mother bodies”.

“I will continue to engage the taxi industry and ensure the rule of law is respected,” he said. “My department will continue to assist police with any information they may require in their investigations. We need a stable and safe taxi industry for our commuters.”

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