Concern over Bergville taxi war

2013-03-12 00:00

A TAXI war has erupted in the Bergville area and has already claimed the lives of three people in the past three weeks.

Taxi owner Simangaliso Khumalo (63) was sitting in his vehicle with a woman friend in Zwelisha on Tuesday last week when two gunmen shot and killed him. The woman was not injured.

Another owner, Mduduzi Kheswa, was shot more than a week ago in Isandlwana near his home while he was taking his goats to a nearby grazing field.

And another operator identified as Mkhize was shot dead about two weeks ago, also in Bergville, while he was on his way home.

A source close to the dispute told The Witness they believed the killing was related to the ongoing dispute over a taxi route to Johannesburg.

“Three associations were using this route since 2000. Two of them registered in Johannesburg were pulled off the route because of a dispute and now only the Bergville association is using it,” said the source.

The source said a meeting was held yesterday to find a solution. “We told the authorities they should go to Johannesburg to speak to the feuding associations and we do not have a problem with them operating here.”

Another source in the taxi industry said it was now difficult to do business because of the violence. “We are sitting in a dangerous situation here because of the violence.”

The leadership of the Bergville association said they were aware of the situation but declined to comment.

Spokesperson for the Department of Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Kwanele Ncalane, said they were aware of only two people who had been killed.

“It has not been confirmed that this is taxi-related, but MEC Willies Mchunu has confirmed a team to investigate and police have been deployed to the area,” Ncalane said.

• thamsanqam@witness.co.za

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