More police units deployed in Ladysmith after taxi violence incident

2017-11-02 13:16
Police and paramedics at the scene outside Ladysmith where 10 people died after a drive-by shooting. (Claudine Senekal (Ladysmith Herald))

Police and paramedics at the scene outside Ladysmith where 10 people died after a drive-by shooting. (Claudine Senekal (Ladysmith Herald))

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Pietermaritzburg - The situation remains tense in Lady­smith after a shootout that left 10 people dead on Tuesday morning.

Police said they have increased their visibility in the area amid fears that more violence may erupt following the murder of Klipriver Taxi Association deputy chairperson Muzikayifani Ngobese, his daughter Nozipo, two bodyguards and Ngobese’s driver who were shot while they were travelling along Matiwaneskop Road.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele confirmed that various units, including the Public Order Policing and the Taxi Violence Unit, have been deployed in Ladysmith.

“We are concerned that the violence is going to increase in that area since there is a taxi violence feud but the police are already deployed to ensure the safety of the public.”

Mbhele said no arrests have been made yet in connection with the killings.

The violence is believed to be linked to an ongoing conflict between the Sizwe Transport Association and the Klip­river Taxi Association. The two rivals are allegedly fighting over the lucrative Ladysmith-to-Johannesburg route.

In 2015, Klipriver Taxi Association chairperson Bhekuyise Masondo survived a drive-by shooting. He was in the Ladysmith provincial hospital parking lot when he was attacked.

In June, members of the Klipriver Taxi Association were granted an interim interdict by the Pietermaritzburg high court arising from a tense dispute between them and the Sizwe Transport Association.

According to court papers, the dispute, which began in 2015, had allegedly resulted in the deaths of some 10 people and attempted murder of others.

In terms of the court order granted, members of Sizwe Transport Association were restrained from directly, indirectly or through third parties intimidating members of the Klipriver Association. They were also restrained from demanding payments from Klipriver members in order to use certain taxi routes and from demanding that members of the Klipriver association make use of passenger lists that bear the name of Sizwe Transport Association.

Numerous attempts by The Witness to get a comment from both the Klipriver and Sizwe transport associations on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Klipriver chairperson Bhekuyise Masondo’s cellphone rang unanswered.

In a statement, KZN Premier Willies Mchunu said he was expecting a comprehensive report from the MEC, Mxolisi Kaunda, regarding interventions to ensure peace and stability in the area.

“We realise we cannot afford to have the taxi industry being engulfed by so much havoc, and thus the need to engage everyone involved and make sure we stabilize the taxi industry in the best interest of commuters and the people of KwaZulu-Natal,” read the statement.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  taxi violence  |  crime

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