We knew they were coming for us - taxi boss

2015-09-17 11:36
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PICS: Deadly Durban taxi rank shoot-out

Several people have been shot dead in a shoot-out at the Brook Street taxi rank behind the old railway station in Durban. View pics from the scene here.

Durban - They knew people were coming for them on Wednesday, a prominent member of the Zamokuhle taxi association said on Thursday.

“We got wind of it at around 22:00 on Tuesday night, and then we sent our men to the rank. They attacked at 05:00 in the morning and I was told that guys from a rival taxi association fired shots first," said the member, who asked not to be named because he feared for his life.

This was the run-up to the deadly shoot-out at the Brook Street minibus taxi rank, which left three people dead and three wounded.

Among the dead was a security guard who just finished his night shift, and was making his way past the rank to catch a train back to Umlazi.

One suspect is among three people who were injured.

Court dispute

It is alleged that both associations have a "protection team" due to the ongoing taxi strife.

Zamokuhle on Wednesday pointed the finger at the Sonke Long Distance Taxi Association, but this was vehemently denied by the latter.

“We know it's them [Sonke] because we took them to court and because they want to take our passengers by force. The court ruled that they must leave us alone,” said the source.

The Zamokuhle Long Distance Association, based in Port Shepstone, took the Sonke Long Distance Taxi Association to court over disputes over routes between Durban and the South Coast.

It was reported that Zamokuhle wanted Sonke interdicted from using a major Durban taxi rank, intimidating its members and interfering with their routes.

The Sonke Long Distance Taxi Association is reported to have close links to President Jacob Zuma's taxi boss nephew, Mfundo Gcaba.

A representative from the taxi association has strongly denied the allegation, saying "none of the Sonke members were present" during the shooting.

‘The govt needs to protect us’

Police arrested 11 suspects and recovered more than 25 firearms at the scene.

In a bid to quell the tensions, KZN Transport MEC Willies Mchunu reportedly obtained an urgent court interdict to prevent Sonke from invading other taxi routes.

“No one is allowed to break the law, even the police are not above the law. I don’t care if you are connected or not. The government needs to protect us,” continued the source.

He claimed Sonke was attempting to bulldoze its way not only in Port Shepstone, but also in Ixopo and Mzimkhulu.

The man said he feared for his life and that of his passengers.

“Passengers are our bread and butter; today [on Wednesday] an innocent person was killed. They must follow the law, we don’t want them here,” he said.

“Sonke has nothing to do with anything that happened at the rank today since a court interdict was granted in favour of the MEC for Transport and Zamokuhle Taxi Association,” Sonke Taxi Association spokesperson Vuyo Mkhize said. 

General secretary of the South African Transport Alliance Bafana Mhlongo said they don’t promote violence as a means to resolve conflict in the minibus taxi industry.

Read more on:    durban  |  crime  |  transport

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