Pro-BRT taxi operator shot dead

2009-12-10 10:53

 

A TAXI operator with the Witwatersrand African Taxi Owners’

Association was shot dead in Dube, Soweto, the City of Johannesburg said

yesterday.

Vananda Khumalo, who worked closely with the city on the Rea Vaya

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, was killed on Tuesday night, said the city

spokesperson Gabu Tugwana in a statement.

Khumalo’s death came nearly a month after he and another taxi

driver who supported the BRT project, Elphus Malao, were shot at on November 16.

Khumalo’s fiancee was killed in the shooting.

“The manner of Mr Khumalo’s death is condemned in the strongest

possible terms. We remain confident that law enforcement agencies will bring his

killers to book for this dastardly act,” read the statement.

Tugwana said while the motives of the killing were not yet clear,

the city saw it as an attack on its public transport transformation project and

the BRT in particular.

Johannesburg police could not provide details on the murder.

City mayor Amos Masondo conveyed his condolences to Khumalo’s

family. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult

time.”

Mayoral committee member Rehana Moosajee said Khumalo’s

“graciousness and gentlemanly conduct” and his invaluable experience of

Johannesburg’s public transport needs would be sorely missed.

Since its launch earlier this year, the BRT system had been plagued

by disruptions by some minibus taxi operators concerned that the project meant

an end to their business.

Tugwana said negotiations with the affected operators were

proceeding well and would be concluded in the new year, adding that a full

service of 143 buses, with feeder buses, would thereafter be rolled out to other

parts of Soweto.

This service would be operated by a bus company made up of affected

taxi operators.

Operations in the inner city were recently suspended until early

next year due to poor patronage.

Over 16?000 passengers currently travelled on

the starter service daily.


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