Taxi dispute overroutes turns violent

2017-04-05 06:03

A TAXI route dispute between two rival taxi associations in Mpophomeni, near Howick, resulted in shots being fired last week.

KwaZulu-Natal provincial police said a 26-year-old taxi driver was travelling in a minibus taxi with passengers early yesterday when he was allegedly accosted by another taxi association’s security guards on the corner of Chris Hani Highway and Chief roads.

Police said four shots were fired at him, but he was not injured.

A man was arrested and will be charged with attempted murder. His firearm was also seized.

The clash stems from underlying issues over operating boundary lines for the Mafakathini Haza Taxi Association and Uzimeleni Taxi Association.

Secretary for the Uzimeleni Taxi Association Leonard Makhayi said they held a meeting yesterday afternoon with their rivals.

“We agreed that we will pull out one of our three taxis and allow their taxi to operate with our two taxis in their own area,” Makhayi said.

Makhayi said the problem escalated earlier this week when three minibus taxis belonging to Uzimeleni Taxi Association were impounded by the Mafakathini Haza Taxi Association.

“We won a contract to collect staff for a company operating in Howick recently, and because some of the staff live beyond our boundaries, our rival taxi association was not happy about us going into their area.

“Some of their clients reside in our area and we don’t have a problem with them coming to our side to collect staffers there,” said Makhayi­, adding that the Mafakathini Haza Taxi Association impounded three more vehicles belonging to their association, and they retaliated, and the clash ensued.

Regional chairperson of the association Bheki Sokhela condemned the incident.

He said the two parties should have met and resolved their differences before it could reach boiling point.

“We appeal to our drivers and operators to respect our commuters and stop the violence,” Sokhela said.

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