The spate of killings as a result of taxi violence has reached worrying levels in the province, Gauteng provincial commissioner said on Thursday.
”This worries police especially where there is loss of life. The taxi industry related violence is complicated, we are seeing violence from other provinces spill over into Gauteng and also violent incidents that originate from other provinces,” Lieutenant General Lesetja Mothiba told journalists in Johannesburg.
”A task team that deals with taxi violence, that includes the transport department, has been allocated to work on this problem.”
Mothiba added that the taxi industry in the province was saturated, resulting in disputes over lucrative routes.
”We told the transport MEC [Ishmael Vadi] that the market was saturated. There are too many taxis in Gauteng than anywhere in the country. The violence we see is as a result of the fact that because there are a lot of taxis, those who used to make large profits before are no longer making a lot of money anymore and therefore disputes arise.”
”We have called for regulatory measures to be implemented for the industry.”
The disputes over routes have resulted in a spate of shootings and attacks, with passengers being caught in the crossfire.
Last week, 11-year-old Madikwa Mamabolo was shot and killed in a crossfire between a queue marshal and a taxi driver at Alexandra’s Pan African taxi rank. Mamabolo was set to board a taxi to Polokwane, two other people were wounded during the shooting. Three people have since appeared in court over the shooting.
In other cases, taxi associations would battle it out through violence as they try to take control of lucrative routes. Mothiba said for the past three months, 20 people were arrested in relation to the violence, and that seven convictions were secured in the courts.
”There are 13 cases under investigation for the past three months, and 12 cases are pending in the various courts. We appeal to our communities to continue assisting us with information on taxi violence and other related incidents.”