The Gauteng Roads and Transport Department says it is deeply concerned about over a thousand unresolved taxi violence-related cases in the province.
This comes after the arrests of four most wanted suspects linked to taxi violence and cash-in-transit heists in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
The suspects are linked to an incident in which a taxi owner and his brother were shot dead in Protea Glen, Soweto, in July last year as well as the gunning down of a taxi owner and his driver in Kensington in March last year.
Another suspect belonging to the Dobsonville, Roodepoort, Leratong and Johannesburg Taxi Association was arrested for being in possession of a stolen and unlicensed firearm.
The department’s spokesperson Theo Nkonki says, “MEC Mamabolo has commended the South African Police Services for their swift action which resulted in the arrest of suspects stoking the fires of violence. MEC Mamabolo says whilst we commend the prompt arrest, we are still deeply concerned about the 1055 cases that remain unresolved. The taxi industry and the violence that we see in the taxi industry it really threatens the future of the taxi industry.”
Gauteng police Commissioner called to taxi violence inquiry
Earlier this month, Gauteng Police Commissioner Elias Mawela was called before the Commission of Inquiry into Taxi Violence in Gauteng to account for hundreds of unresolved taxi-related murders.
This followed revelations by retired Lieutenant General Vinesh Moonoo, the commission’s investigator, that 505 taxi-related murder cases, dating back to 2012, are still pending.
President of the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco), Phillip Taaibosch, said when taxi operators are killed, in most cases, the suspects are never found.
Taaibosch had been testifying at the commission in Parktown, Johannesburg.
The commission was set up in September last year after a spate of taxi-related killings.
Taaibosch says one of the causes of taxi violence in Gauteng is the high number of taxi associations operating in the same city.
He made reference to rival taxi associations that have clashed over routes in the Johannesburg area for years.
Taaibosch says they should follow the example of his home province, the Free State, which has adopted a One Town, One Taxi Association approach.
“We brought associations in the Free State from close to 130 associations to about 75. If you go to Qwa Qwa you’ve got one taxi association, go to Harrismith, you’ve got one taxi association, Bloemfontein, one taxi association. And they’ve been operating like that now for I think more than 20 years. And I can tell you judge you don’t have, you have mild conflicts. I can’t remember when last was there violence in the taxi industry in the Free State.”