National police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo says police are working tirelessly to establish the motive for the murder of 11-taxi operators associated with the Ivory Park Taxi Association, based at Midrand, north of Johannesburg.

The 11 were among 17 people travelling back to Johannesburg after a funeral in KwaZulu-Natal.

The shooting took place on the R74 between Colenso and Weenen in KZN last night. Naidoo has condemned the senseless killings.

“It an incident that I think must be condemned in all possible term by everyone in RSA. This is totally uncalled for and of course the national commissioner mentioned that we want the suspects arrested within 72-hours. Police have been working timeously since this incident. We rely on our intelligence environment, they are working tirelessly to establish exactly who are responsible for the attack of the taxi carrying mourners from a funeral in KZN.”

“Senseless killing”

The Minister of Transport, Dr Blade Nzimande, has released a statement condemning what he says is “the senseless killing of 11 taxi drivers and the critical wounding of four.”

“These killings and injuries of innocent people are symbolic of organised crime and utter disregard of the life of other citizens. Such offences are serious crimes, unjustifiable and punishable by law,” says Minister Nzimande.

Nzimande further said that South Africa has seen a spate of taxi related violence and killings by rival groups and government, through the security cluster, has decisively intervened to deal with these senseless killings.

“I commend the law enforcement officers for their swift response in activating a 72-hour action plan consisting of members from specialised units within the police — including Crime Intelligence, the Hawks, and the Special Task Force — to trace and apprehend those responsible for these killings.”

The minister reiterates the fact that there are well established disputes mechanisms in the taxi industry which must be adhered to by all operators regardless of their affiliation to any taxi association or grouping.

These mechanisms are spelled out clearly in conditions of the granting of operating licences as contained in the National Land Transport Act, as well as on sector and association protocols which are aimed at harnessing peaceful and cordial relations in the industry.

“We therefore cannot allow a small group of criminal syndicates to hold the taxi industry at ransom. We will act decisively and punish harshly those who continue to perpetuate these senseless acts of lawlessness,” emphasised Minister Nzimande.

Minister Nzimande confirms that the Department of Transport will be hosting a multi-stakeholder Indaba to address challenges within the taxi industry and public transport in general during the October Transport Month this year – 2018.

Minister Nzimande conveys his condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of all the deceased.