Three men affiliated to the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) were killed in a shooting incident at the notorious Joe Slovo taxi rank near Milnerton, Cape Town on Wednesday morning, in what could be another flare-up violence that has plagued the minibus taxi industry.
Mandla Hermanus, spokesperson for Cata, told the Mail & Guardian the association was “committed to peace and as such we would not want to speculate on the motives behind these killings”.
He urged Cata members and anyone with information relating to the incident to report it to local authorities, adding that the latest killing “should not be seen as an indication that the two mother bodies, Cata and Codeta [ are at war with each other”.
The Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta) declined to comment.
The incident is still under investigation, but “preliminary findings are that the incident is linked to taxi conflict”, said police spokesperson in the Western Cape Brigadier Novela Potelwa.
In a press statement, police said they arrived at the scene in the morning after receiving a call and found the three men with gunshot wounds; another person who had also been shot, was taken to a medical facility for treatment.
“The ages of the deceased persons are estimated between 27 and 40. Their identities are yet to be determined,” the statement said. Police have opened dockets for murder and attempted murder, and detectives from the “taxi task team” are investigating the circumstances surrounding the shooting incident.
Describing it as a “full-fledged” task force, Patekile said in July that “an even closer relationship” had been formed between the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, better known as the Hawks, and the police organised crime investigation unit in the province.
Patekile was responding to the surge in taxi violence in and around Cape Town in July, when 24 people were killed in one month and transport services were restricted because of taxi violence.
The violence was spurred on by a turf war over routes between Cata and Codeta. After weeks of consultations between the two associations, as well as the government, new measures to address the violence were agreed on in early August.
However, the Joe Slovo taxi rank remains notorious for violence. A day after the taxi groups signed the new agreement, a taxi operator at the minibus station was shot and killed. In May, which saw 12 people gunned down in the conflict, three taxi owners were shot and wounded at the same rank.