Bheki Cele shuts down Mthatha taxi routes indefinitely

(iStock)
(iStock)

Police Minister Bheki Cele has announced the immediate and indefinite closure of major taxi routes in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, which are currently involved in ongoing taxi violence in the area.

The affected routes are the R61 and N2 junction to Maclear and Tsolo.

More than 60 people have been killed since the violence erupted in 2016.

"The selfishness of the taxi industry must be cut to zero. We cannot continue to count dead bodies like a taxi load," said Cele.

"Sixty people is a big number, the killings must be eradicated or else taxi operators will lose their business. The routes belong to the citizens of this country and are not to be manipulated by taxi bosses for selfish financial gains."

Several interventions, including the signing of a peace accord, have been facilitated by the provincial government to bring peace to rival taxi associations, according to the minister's spokesperson, Nonkululeko Phokane.

"All interventions to date have failed dismally, hence the police minister has taken drastic measures in stamping the authority of the state," said Phokane.

Cele has indicated his willingness to meet taxi operators to find a long-lasting solution to the taxi wars in the Eastern Cape.

The ANC branch in Eastern Cape condemned the taxi violence at a special provincial executive committee meeting on Monday.

"We demand the speedy arrest, trial and sentencing of those responsible for those deadly shootings," said spokesperson Judy Mpetsheni.

The ANC encouraged Cele to investigate the violence as it "compromises the security of the state".

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