DA calls for police at taxi ranks after killing of teen

Taxi rank. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)
Taxi rank. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

Durban - The Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal has called on the government to remove private security guards at taxi ranks and replace them with police officers, after a teenager was killed by a stray bullet earlier this week.

"We are outraged by this horrific incident which has again highlighted the lawlessness and utter contempt for innocent lives within the taxi industry," DA spokesperson on transport Rafeek Shah said on Friday.

His call comes after a 13-year-old boy was killed in crossfire between gunmen and private security guards at the Newcastle-based Zwelibomvu Taxi Association on Wednesday afternoon.

A taxi operator, who is a member of the executive of a taxi association, sustained gunshot wounds.

Shah said that, while he acknowledged KZN MEC for Transport, Community and Liaison Mxolisi Kaunda's attempts to negotiate peace between warring taxi factions: "It is clear that these negotiations are not bearing fruit."

READ: Stray bullet kills schoolboy, 13, as taxi violence rages on in KZN

Shah urged Kaunda to follow through on the removal of private security at "hotspot" taxi ranks.

"[The MEC] indicated that the [department] would consider funding to enable the SAPS and other official law enforcement agencies to enforce the law and keep commuters safe. Other measures would include the installation of CCTV cameras."

He added that the DA would support the department.

"We call on the MEC to take a hard line and to follow through on his undertakings. We also welcome any move by the department, aimed at beefing up crime intelligence in the province so that taxi violence can be checked before it flares up."

He added: "The culture of fear amongst the people of our province, as a result of warring taxi factions, has to be stamped out."

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