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At least 56 taxi murders in Western Cape this year

There have been at least 56 taxi-related murders and 32 attempted murders between 1 January and 17 August across the Western Cape, including in current “hotspots” Mbekweni, Bellville, Houtbay, Masiphumelele, Ceres and other areas.

The most recent incident occurred at the Bellville taxi rank in August and resulted in one person’s death and two taxi drivers being wounded after being caught in the crossfire.

Taxi associations affiliated to Cape Amalgamated Taxi Associations (Cata) and Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta) have been involved in tit-for-tat attacks and hits on rivals as they vie for control over taxi routes and ranks throughout the province.

Transport MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela has recently held separate meetings with the leadership of Cata and Codeta to engage both sets of leaders on the current taxi related violence and murders that involve their members and affiliates.

At the start of both meetings, held last week, Madikizela warned of the possible closure of taxi ranks and routes if the violence and shooting incidents do not stop immediately.

“I called these meetings with Codeta and Cata, not just to sternly address the leadership about the senseless murders and attempted murders that recently also led to three commuters being caught in the cross fire when gunmen opened fire at the rank in Bellville, but also to provide both sets of leaders a ‘safe space’ within which to talk freely about the underlying causes of the tensions and violence from their respective points of view.”

Cata and Codeta leaders expressed their concerns and complaints along with their own proposals towards the resolution of specific disputes, from which Madikizela and his officials were able to extract a number of common threads that have been used to craft a set of resolutions that were sent to both parties and to affected municipalities for their inputs.

These include:. The leadership of Cata, Codeta and their affiliates will abide by the law and will immediately:

1. stop all hostilities against members and employees of each other’s associations,

2. allow all holders of valid operating licences to operate in accordance with their rights, and

3. neither allow nor encourage illegal operations on any routes or at any ranks. The Department of Transport and Public Works will prepare a notice of intention and final regulations to close affected ranks and routes and to suspend affected operating licences in the event of further violence. No minibus-taxi services will be allowed on closed routes and vehicles of offending operators will be impounded and the holders of the operating licences will be criminally prosecuted.. Madikizela, together with his department, will engage municipalities on the management of public transport ranks and interchanges and implementation of proper access control and security measures.

Drakenstein Municipality’s Gerald Esau said they are currently awaiting confirmation from the Western Cape Government for a meeting of role players to look at a more permanent solution to the conflict on the Mbekweni-Bellville route. The hostile situation in Southern Paarl is also being addressed daily by the Municipality’s Traffic Division.

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