Tax violence continues in Hout Bay

Police guard the scene on Main Road.

The Hout Bay Civic Association is calling for an end to the Hout Bay taxi violence, following another shootout which claimed the lives of five people and left two seriously injured on Monday April 1.

“The month of April in South Africa is the month in which we celebrate freedom, yet our freedom of movement as poor and working class is under threat. Twenty-five years into democracy, this cannot be tolerated. One death due to taxi violence is one too many,” said the association’s chairman, Roscoe Jacobs.

Law enforcement spokesman Wayne Dyason said the shooting had happened in the vicinity of the unofficial Hout Bay taxi rank and the local sports field, a few metres from Hout Bay police station.

Forensics experts working on the scene identified more than 30 spent cartridges on Main Road.

The shooting came just days after a related shootout in the same area, last Wednesday March 27, which left one person dead, (“Taxi mayhem in Hout Bay”, Sentinel, March 29).

Community Safety MEC Alan Winde condemned the violence, saying: “It is completely unacceptable that taxi associations turn to violence when they have disputes. Lives were lost, and the entire community of Hout Bay was brought to a standstill due to the violence that erupted in the area.”

Transport and Public Works MEC Donald Grant said the violence appeared to be related to ongoing disputes between two associations affiliated to the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (CODETA ).

“Illegal operations in this area date back a few years, resulting in sporadic clashes between the two associations. The flaring tensions and past violence, driven by disputes over routes and illegal operations, prompted the Provincial Transport Registrar to issue notices of suspension to the affected associations last week,” said Mr Grant.

The two associations were suspended for violating the code of conduct for minibus taxi associations and operators. Hundreds of commuters have been left stranded and with no choice but to take the MyCiTi via Victoria Road, an expensive option for the working-class community.

Zibongiwe Maceba, an IY resident, said it was sad to see people walking from Camps Bay to Hout Bay.

“MyCiTi drives past the passengers in bus stops because it’s overloaded. Something needs to be done urgently,” she said.

JP Smith, the mayoral committee member for safety and security, said the taxi rank had been shut and would be barricaded to prevent it being accessed. “Several taxis which continued to operate, were impounded in four operations conducted by the City of Cape Town’s traffic services. Last week we did a clampdown and we will extend (it) now to try and prevent them from operating,” he said.

According to Mr Smith, the suspended associations are legally granted a hearing before a decision is made by the registrar to de-register an association on the grounds of inappropriate conduct.

Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel André Traut said a team of specialist detectives was investigating the murders.

Codeta spokesperson Besuthu Ndungeni said: “We are awaiting a report from the police to verify the identities of the people killed and injured, before commenting any further on the matter.”

Cata did not respond to repeated requests for comment.