Taxi boss fears for her life after bomb attack

2016-03-07 11:41
The taxi owner’s son, Kaveer, cleaning the burned wall at the scene of an alleged petrol bombing that burned two vehicles.

The taxi owner’s son, Kaveer, cleaning the burned wall at the scene of an alleged petrol bombing that burned two vehicles. (Thabang Mathebula, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - A Pietermaritzburg taxi boss who is also a local taxi association executive member fears for her life after a petrol bomb gutted her taxi and Mercedes-Benz at her house in Copesville.

The taxi boss, Kelly Singh, believes the incident that has left her and her family distraught is linked to ongoing taxi-related disputes.

Singh and her family were awakened by the screams of their security guard on Saturday morning, who saw a huge blaze that had burned a Mercedes-Benz, with the fire spreading to a taxi parked close to it.

“When we woke up we took the children to our neighbour. We tried to douse the fire. The fire was too strong, I watched it burn both cars.”

She said several eyewitnesses nearby saw two men driving a white Polo who stopped on her driveway, threw what appeared to be a petrol bomb and then sped away.

She said she believes her role in a dispute about an illegal taxi operation is the reason why she has been targeted. “I have been very vocal in the meeting about the ongoing illegal taxi operators affecting our association. I was recorded by one of the executive members in the meeting and the recording ended up in the wrong hands,” she said.

Singh said the bombing had awoken bad memories of an incident two years earlier, where unknown people broke into her house, shot her son in the hip and assaulted her grandchildren. She also believed the previous incident was taxi-related. She thought the matter had been laid to rest, until Saturday night.

The dispute revolved around illegal taxi operations in the northern areas including Copesville, Allandale and Esikhetheni.

Singh said an executive member of a taxi association was approached at his tuckshop on Tuesday by people demanding a name of a person who was fighting the illegal taxi operations.

“He told them all the executive members were opposing the illegals. But they needed one name, not collective members of the executives.

“He eventually revealed my name. He phoned me to tell me what had just happened.

“He said things are getting worse and he is not prepared to die or lose his family and all the executives members’ lives were in danger.”

On Friday an urgent meeting was called at Asmall’s taxi rank with all the executives present, but the meeting failed when the illegal taxi operators vowed not to stop loading commuters.

The ex-association chairperson, Tom Dube, who recently resigned, said he had nothing to say about the incident. “I’m just an ordinary member now. I handed my resignation letter to the association last week,” he said.

Sigh said she would open a case with the police when the report from the fire department had been released.

• thabang.mathebula@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  attack  |  taxi industry

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