Sleuth to probe taxi killings

2009-09-19 00:00

FOLLOWING wide-ranging allegations of police complicity in ongoing taxi violence in Umlazi, a private investigator is to be appointed to get to the heart of the matter, KZN Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu announced yesterday.

Mchunu was talking to taxi operators in Umlazi following ongoing taxi violence since June that has left five people killed and five injured. No one has been arrested for the murders.

Following the shootings in June, witnesses have alleged that police from the area may be involved in the actual shooting or in the planning. According to the allegations, SAPS members were allegedly seen tampering with evidence shortly after the shooting — before crime scene detectives arrived.

Earlier this week, Mchunu appointed a provincial police task team to investigate the unsolved murders. Weekend Witness has learnt that the team excludes the Umlazi police and the NMR police taxi task team investigating unit.

Mchunu told the gathering that the investigator will look into numerous allegations, including the existence of hitmen, police ineptitude, and the contribution of leadership squabbles to the current conflict within the NMR Taxi Association.

The investigator will also probe the alleged role played by the police, and private security companies enlisted by the taxi operators at the height of the killings.

Mchunu told the taxi operators that he is committed to finding a peaceful solution to the conflict. “Negotiations must never end. Our first prize is to see no more deaths as a result of this conflict,” he said.

“Let us not allow the law of the jungle to dictate the taxi business … No matter how slow, and painful, we must bring an end to anarchy in this industry …” Mchunu added.

The MEC also warned the gathering not to harbour any illusions that he will be soft, simply because he is soft spoken. He said he will pursue all legal means to root out criminality and anarchy in the taxi industry.

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