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Mbalula meeting with taxi bosses over taxi-related violence

Minister of Transprt Fikile Mbalula said he was ready to meet with the Western Cape taxi operators today, in an effort to stop minibus taxi-related violence in the province.

Following several shootings that claimed multiple lives and left many injured, Mbalula flew down to the province yesterday, to join Transport and Public Works MEC Daylin Mitchell in meeting with taxi industry stakeholders.

More people were shot and killed, while others wounded in another taxi shooting on Thursday afternoon. Police spokesperson Andrè Traut said that detectives were probing the deaths of three people who were shot and killed in a minibus taxi in Mew Way in Harare on Thursday.

Traut said additional uniformed officers had been deployed to bring stability to a volatile situation in the area.

He said that at about 3pm, the occupants of a minibus taxi opened fire at the occupants of another taxi. Two males, aged 32 and 25, and one female aged 22, sustained fatal gunshot wounds, while a 29-year-old female and a five-month-old baby were wounded and admitted to a local medical facility.

“We have reason to believe that another child who was a bystander was also wounded and taken away for treatment. The suspects fled and have yet to be arrested,” said Traut.

The recent shootings came after three commuters and a metro police officer were shot and wounded on Wednesday. Nine people were shot – three of them fatally – in suspected taxi-related shootings on Tuesday.

Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta) spokesperson Andile Khanyi said he would like Mbalula to address the ongoing minibus taxi violence in the province.

Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association’s Andile Seyamo said the transport ministry must emphasise the law and the rules that the provincial Department of Transport must follow.

Seyamo said it seemed as though people did not adhere to the operating licence procedures, and people’s lives needed to be a priority.

ANC Dullah Omar Region secretary Vuyiso Tyhalisisu called for calm in the industry and for all parties to come to the negotiation table to work through their grievances and challenges.

Tyhalisisu said the route, permit issues and impoundment of taxis raised by the industry needed to be urgently attended to.

“We view the closure of taxi ranks as a false solution that will not bring any concrete results. The closure of taxi ranks will further inconvenience commuters while doing nothing to bring any resolution or stability,” said Tyhalisisu.

He called on the City’s law enforcement and on the Community Safety Department to deploy adequate officers and resources in the hot spots to quell the violence and protect communities.

“We also call on the provincial government to resolve issues regarding taxi routes and permits in order to bring lasting stability to the industry.”

Safety and Security Mayco member JP Smith said the City was aware of numerous incidents of violence in a number of areas around the metropole that appeared to be linked to conflict in the minibus taxi industry.

Smith said the City continued to provide its full support to the operational plan led by the police to address the issue, and to bring those responsible to book.

“The City also continues to support the provincial Transport Department where possible to address the root cause of the conflict,” said Smith.

He said that in the interim they called on those involved to cease and desist, in the interest of the thousands of commuters who relied on the minibus taxi industry to get around.

Anyone who can assist the police with information is kindly requested to contact Crime Stop at 08600 10111.

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