Cape Town taxi operator shot dead a day after ceasefire agreement

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  • Another taxi operator was shot dead in Cape Town.
  • The 56-year-old Codeta operator was shot in the face and chest at the Joe Slovo taxi rank.
  • Codeta and Santaco insist the Milnerton shooting has nothing to do with the current route war and peace agreement.

A 56-year-old taxi operator was shot dead at the Joe Slovo taxi rank in Milnerton, Cape Town, a day after a ceasefire and ultimatum that permits would be suspended if taxi murders start again.

"He was one of our members," said Andile Khanyi of the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta).

READ | Inside Cape Town's taxi war: Extortion 'receipts' and safe passage letters

However, Khanyi said the shooting had nothing to do with the B97 route dispute with the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata).

"We are not going to accuse anybody of this. There were internal matters," Khanyi told News24.

"It is worrying, so we must let the police investigate this."

The operator, whose name is not available yet, was shot in the face and chest on Tuesday at the busy interchange on Freedom Way.

Private internal matter

READ | Deal struck between Cape taxi associations after weeks of violence

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi said officers rushed to the rank on Tuesday at about 13:00 and found the man dead, lying on his back.

The shooters had left the scene by then.

"The motive for the attack is possibly taxi related," he said.

The victim was declared dead at the scene.

Khanyi said he did not want to go into details, but insisted it was a private internal matter, and had nothing to do with route rivalry.

The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) also said it was not related to the current route conflict and ceasefire agreement.

On Monday, the Department of Transport gave operators an ultimatum: keep the peace or risk having all route permits suspended.

In total, 86 people have been killed in the dispute over the route between Paarl and Bellville, and accusations of route invasions and extortion.

The taxi associations have not yet agreed on who has rights to the route, and it remains suspended as arbitration continues. The ceasefire came with the proviso that taxi operators had to get back into servicing the routes they were given permits for, other than the B97 Paarl route.

Santaco Western Cape chairperson Nazeen Abdurahman said the Joe Slovo shooting had nothing to do with the route fight and urged the police to find the shooter.

"Both parties are on agreement to maintain a ceasefire. They are committed to the process. It is an internal feud," Abdurahman said.

He said it could have been a personal disagreement, a robbery or a fight over stokvel savings, but it was not about a route.

"The Department of Transport knows we signed an agreement in good faith. We are not going to sign an agreement and at the end of the day violate it. The industry is not doing well. Passengers are not responsive (to the peace agreement)," he said.

Abdurahman said about 10 000 operators face defaulting on their vehicle payments and other expenses as a result of at least a month of disruptions. He said commuters are also hesitant to return to taxi transport.

"A lot are going to get returns on their debit orders which were not paid. A lot of innocent people got shot. We want to maintain the agreement."

Ntomboxolo Makoba-Somdaka, the spokesperson for Western Cape Transport MEC Daylin Mitchell, said the routes would not be suspended because the shooting was not related to the route dispute.

Comment was not immediately available from Cata.

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