Three taxi operators gunned down in Port St Johns

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Three taxi operators have been gunned down in Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape. It’s alleged that unknown gunmen hijacked a taxi and abducted a driver and his assistant. The perpetrators allegedly forced them to point out one of the taxi owners and killed him. The two abducted taxi operators were also killed a few hours later.

The latest taxi violence has shocked the community. It’s believed that a dispute between two taxi unions, the Border Taxi Alliance and Uncedo, over the Mthabambalala route, is the main cause of the violence. The driver and his assistant were killed execution style, while the taxi owner was shot and killed at the Mzimvubu Bridge. Three more taxis were also torched.

“As the taxi industry we are so shocked about this act, we’d not expect this to happen in our area, so we are so shocked, even the people around are so shocked, the passengers, everybody here in Port St Johns are shocked. We want peace and we want people that are involved in this. The law must take its course,” says Sakhiwo Lusiba, PSJ Border Alliance Taxi Association spokesperson.

Commuters fear for their lives and have called for immediate intervention.

“People are shocked and we are still shocked about what happened, we are not happy, we are very worried about what is going on.There are no people in town because people are not sure about their safety,” says commuter Thembisa Mangcwabane.

“We use taxis almost every day, now that there is taxi violence here, we are really not safe. We would like government to do something because we do not have an option, but we are forced to use this mode of transport,” says another commuter Okuhle Ntingane.

The Provincial Transport Department has expressed its dismay about the outbreak of taxi violence on the Lusikisiki to Port St Johns route.

“The MEC for Transport in the Eastern Cape, Mr Xolile Nqatha is extending words of condolences to the affected families and is calling upon anyone with information to come forward and bring to book the perpetrators of these killings. He is also assembling a team that is going to look at problems that have led to these killings,” says EC Transport Provincial spokesperson Unathi Binqose.

A call for calm and peace was made.

“We appeal to everybody to be calm and make sure that everybody peace prevails in our area because this is affecting our businesses and everybody, our passengers, families are also affected by this incident,” Lusiba adds.

Police have been deployed to monitor the situation in the area. Attempts to get a comment from the Uncedo Taxi Association were unsuccessful.