Hostels a haven for taxi warlords

2013-09-06 00:00

RECENT case studies by the KwaZulu-Natal Transport and Community Safety and Liaison departments on taxi-related killings indicate that Gauteng hostels are a haven for hit men and warlords to plot, plan and finance hits on rivals in the KZN taxi industry.

This came out in an interprovincial meeting between KZN MEC Willies Mchun­u and Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi in Pretoria over the weekend.

This was a follow-up to a meeting between Mchunu and Gauteng Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko that was held in Durban last week, which Vadi also attended.

Mchunu’s spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane told The Witness yesterday that the Pretoria meeting was to formalise areas of possible co-operation and to draft the implementation plan to tackle crime head-on.

“In the recent months people were murdered in various parts of the province and the killings were linked to the taxi industry. Surprisingly, those arrested were found hiding in hostels in various parts of Gauteng. In the Msinga case, in Northern KZN, a TRT [Tactical Response Team] officer was killed during a patrol and raid operation, and his killers were arrested in a hostel in Gauteng. In the Muden case and the recent Matheni village, kwaNongoma, more than 20 people were murdered, and the suspects were arrested in a hostel in Benoni and other hostels around Gauteng,” said Ncalane.

He said two families were involved in the Matheni village killing, but the entire village was affected, as villages had to take sides between the families who have an interest in the taxi industry.

Interprovincial partnerships were, therefore, needed to curb the free movement of firearms and hit men between the provinces.

“Two most wanted suspects in the killings at Matheni were arrested in a hostel in Benoni. They were found in possession of illegal firearms, including four 9 mm pistols, a Z38 and 38 rounds of ammunition,” said Ncalane.

Although the fighting happened in KZN, some of these people were killed in Gauteng.

In the meetings, both MECs expressed concern about the movement of guns and hit men and the effect this has on taxi routes between the provinces.

“MEC Mchunu looked at the trend of the killings and decided to engage his Gauteng counterparts. The aftermath of that weekend meeting was a task team that has to come up with plans and clear directives on how to tackle the matter. The team will investigate areas of co-operation and implementation for both provinces,” said Ncalane.

Gauteng Roads and Transport head of communications Octavia Mamabolo confirmed the Pretoria meeting between the two provinces.

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