Taxi violence caused by infighting over routes

Two taxi drivers were shot dead and nine school pupils hit by stray bullets when an unknown gunmen opened fire in the crowded taxi rank in Langa this month. Photo: Tracey Adams/African News Agency

The recent taxi-related violence in Hout Bay is believed to be linked to the infighting within the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA) and control over routes.

That is according to Siphesihle Dube, spokesperson for Transport and Public Works MEC, Donald Grant.

Three weeks ago, hundreds of people were left homeless after the home of a taxi driver was burnt down in Dontse Yakhe, with the fire spreading to neighbouring shacks (“Taxis at heart of fire,” Sentinel, February 16).

Last Thursday night, February 22, a 22-year-old man was killed during a shooting incident outside the OK Mini-Mart in Hout Bay. Another man was shot inside the store and sustained injuries to his head. He was rushed to Groote Schuur Hospital.

Hout Bay police spokesperson, Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch, said no arrests had been made.

Mr Dube said a joint task team, involving the department and SAPS among others, would assess all reported cases of killings involving taxi drivers and owners.

“But the task team will also differentiate between crimes directly linked to squabbles over routes and those involving pure criminality and/or gangs,” he said.

The task team, he said, hoped to get to the “root causes” of violence in the taxi industry, including route invasions and membership fees levied by taxi “mother bodies”, such as Cata and the Congress for Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta).

A feud has arisen between two groups associated with Cata over control of the Athlone route. Two weeks ago, a Langa taxi owner was gunned down while on the same day as the Hout Bay shooting, there was a double murder at the Langa taxi rank.

The Sentinel tried to reach out to local affiliates of Cata and Codeta, but they did not respond to requests for comment.