Taxi killing 'an attack on BRT'
Johannesburg - A taxi operator from the Witwatersrand African Taxi Owners' Association was shot dead in Dube, Soweto, the City of Johannesburg said on Wednesday.
Vananda Khumalo, who worked closely with the city on the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit project, was killed on Tuesday night, said spokesperson Gabu Tugwana.
Khumalo's death came nearly a month since he and a taxi driver who supported the BRT project, Elphus Malao, were shot at on November 16. Khumalo's fiancée 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."
Attack on BRT
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 affected operators were proceeding well and would be concluded in the new year. He said 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.