Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande on Sunday, condemned the killing of eleven taxi drivers between the towns of Colenso and Weenen in KwaZulu Natal.
A minibus carrying members of a Gauteng based taxi drivers’ association was returning home from attending the funeral of a colleague at Ematimatolo in KwaZulu Natal.
Eleven people were shot dead and another four wounded in an ambush by an unknown number of gunmen on Saturday night.
“These killings and injuries of innocent people are symbolic of organised crime and utter disregard of the life of other citizens. Such offences are serious crimes, unjustifiable and punishable by law,” said Nzimande.
Nzimande added that South Africa has seen a spate of taxi-related violence and killings by rival groups and government, through the security cluster, has decisively intervened to deal with these senseless killings.
“I commend the law enforcement officers for their swift response in activating a 72-hour action plan consisting of members from specialised units within the police – including Crime Intelligence, the Hawks, and the Special Task Force – to trace and apprehend those responsible for these killings, said the Transport Minister.
Nzimande reiterates the fact that there are well-established disputes mechanisms in the taxi industry which must be adhered to by all operators regardless of their affiliation to any taxi association or grouping.
“We, therefore, cannot allow a small group of criminal syndicates to hold the taxi industry at ransom. We will act decisively and punish harshly those who continue to perpetuate these senseless acts of lawlessness,” emphasised Minister Nzimande.
He confirmed that the Department of Transport will be hosting a multi-stakeholder Indaba to address challenges within the taxi industry and public transport in general during the October Transport Month this year – 2018.