Task team to tackle taxi crime

2011-12-15 00:00

A PROVINCIAL taxi task team has been deployed by the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Willies Mchunu, to monitor the harassment of communters by amabhokobhoko.

Amabhokobhoko are a group of security personnel who are believed to be employed by local taxi operators.

Transport Department spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said: “Recently there has been an outcry of intimidation by this group in the Mtubatuba community and surrounding areas.”

Mchunu said yesterday that a specialised team within the SA Police Service and Operation Shanela under the Department of Transport would monitor the area to ensure commuters were transported without fear or intimidation.

He was addressing thousands of Siyembeni community members during the roll-out of Operation Hlasela, Operation Hlasela, which he launched last month in response to complaints about spiralling levels of drug abuse, violence and general crime.

“Amabhokobhoko have become a law unto themselves, they terrorise members of the public and other taxi operators,” said Mchunu.

He said they do not allow commuters to get lifts from private vehicles.

“If any motorist is caught offering a ride to a prospective commuter, amabhokobhoko force the commuter to walk to the taxi rank and wait for a taxi and they force the motorist to pay a fine,” Mchunu said.

“What they are doing is highly unacceptable and will not be tolerated under any circumstances.”

Last year there were faction fights between communities in Siyembeni and Machibini, which claimed many lives.

Mchunu warned the communities to guard against troublemakers who created unrest to advance their own interests.

“No one should takeaway what you have accomplished. “It is your responsibility to protect the peace that has been achieved,” he said.

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