The suspect arrested in connection with a shooting incident in which four people died at the Joe Slovo taxi rank near Milnerton, Cape Town, last month, was granted R10 000 bail in the Cape Town magistrate’s court on Tuesday.
Mbongeni Songo is facing four counts of murder and one of attempted murder. A fifth person was wounded in the same incident.
Songo was granted bail on condition that he did not contact witnesses and did not go to the Joe Slovo, Du Noon and Milnerton taxi ranks, according to the National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson in the Western Cape, Eric Ntabazalila.
The case was postponed to 8 February 2022 for further investigation.
Simphiwe Mpume, Mkululi Mkhosana, Anga Mkhosana and Asanda Sipondo were gunned down at the Joe Slovo minibus taxi rank on 22 September. Three of the men died at the scene and one died later in hospital.
Mandla Hermanus, spokesperson for the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata), confirmed that the deceased was affiliated to Cata.
He dismissed the shooting as being a flare-up of violence in the taxi industry.
He said Cata was “committed to peace and as such we would not want to speculate on the motives behind these killings”, adding that the latest killing “should not be seen as an indication that the two mother bodies, Cata and Codeta [Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations] are at war with each other”.
But the police spokesperson in the Western Cape, Brigadier Novela Potelwa, said “preliminary findings are that the incident is linked to taxi conflict”.
Detectives from the “taxi task team” are investigating the circumstances of the shooting. The multidisciplinary team was established in April when Lieutenant General Thembisile Patekile was announced as Western Cape police commissioner.
The taxi task team came at a time when the continued turf war between Cata and Codeta was rife. Since the start of the year, more than 85 people have been killed in taxi violence incidents in the Western Cape, including commuters, among them two women in their 20s.
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.
The Mail & Guardian previously reported that the turf war between the two associations stems from operating licences to provide services on Route B97 between Mbekweni/Paarl and Bellville.
In an attempt to find a solution, the local government closed the route for two months. But the MEC of transport and public works, Daylin Mitchell, extended the closure of the route on 6 August until further notice.