Minister Madikizela and SANTACO condemn taxi related murders
Media Release by Bonginkosi Madikizela, Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works
Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works, Bonginkosi Madikizela and the leadership of the Western Cape Branch of the SA National Tax Council (SANTACO) strongly condemn the recent surge in taxi related murders and violence.
Following an incident this morning at the home of one of the leaders in the industry, the Minister and the leadership called for calm and the restoration of peace among all taxi operators and associations.
Minister Madikizela was scheduled to meet with transport officials and the leadership of SANTACO, CATA and Codeta this afternoon to address his concerns over escalating tensions and recent killings, but following this morning’s incident- and at the request of the industry, the Minister agreed to reschedule the meeting.
This morning’s attempt on the life of one of the key leaders in the industry was roundly condemned by all parties and is being investigated by the SAPS’ taxi violence unit. Minister Madikizela said that it is sad and regrettable that in this year alone, there have been 43 confirmed taxi related murders and 20 attempted murders in the Western Cape.
The Minister thanked the SAPS for their sterling work in bringing a number of the killers to book and for starting to ‘join the dots’ towards identifying the ‘kingpins’ and ‘paymasters’ behind the violent and murderous activities. There have been some 97 arrests to date and 47 cases are currently on the Court rolls for taxi related crimes. He will be asking the SAPS to further strengthen the capacity of the team that is investigating taxi related crimes in order to ensure that the ‘kingpins’ are arrested and convicted.
The Minister asked the industry to commit themselves to resolving their differences through peaceful means and said that his department has availed the services of independent mediators whenever required in order to facilitate talks between rival groups. He appealed to the leaders to stop what has become tit-for-tat revenge attacks; the invasion of routes of other associations, poaching and recruiting members of rival associations and contributing towards feuds through manipulating the ‘permit application processes’. In saying that, the Minister also indicated that his own department, together with municipal transport planning authorities is looking critical at whether its operating licence planning and application processes can be improved.
SANTACO’s Western Cape Chairman, Nazeem Abdurahman, denounced the recent killings and apologized to commuters, saying that the industry leadership will do whatever is required to bring an end to the cycle of violence.
Minister Madikizela called on the SAPS to prioritize the investigations into the recent incidents and to bring the murderers as well as their paymasters to book as soon as possible.
The Minister warned that if tensions escalate and it is assessed that commuters may be in danger of being caught in the cross fire between rival groups, he will not hesitate to close down taxi ranks or routes to safeguard the lives of innocent commuters and citizens.