Eastern Cape taxi industry 'confused' as 4th taxi operator killed in a month

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Another taxi operator has been killed in Eastern Cape.
Another taxi operator has been killed in Eastern Cape.
Moeketsi Mamane
  • On 15 July, the Uncedo Taxi Association chairperson in the Nelson Mandela Bay region, Diki Zamani, was gunned down in Njoli, Gqeberha, while sitting in his parked car.
  • On 17 July, Border Alliance Taxi Association operator Sinethemba Dyani, 40, was shot dead inside his Quantum mini-bus while preparing to depart to the Qonce taxi rank where he worked.
  • On 31 July, Mqanduli Taxi Association chairperson Wiseman Phandiwonga Gxalathane, 65, was shot dead outside his home in Ndungunyeni.

A fourth Eastern Cape taxi operator has been killed within a space of four weeks, sparking panic and confusion in the industry.  

The Uncedo Taxi Association's chairperson in Komani, Sandi Mgobo, 48, was shot dead outside his home in Ezibeleni by unknown gunmen on Friday.

His killing brings to four the number of taxi operators murdered in similar fashion in the past month.

READ | Third taxi operator shot dead in Eastern Cape

Asked if there were any links between the killings, Eastern Cape police spokesperson Brigadier Thembinkosi Kinana said the police would not speculate. 

"Only investigations will shed light in this regard," added Kinana.

The SA National Taxi Council [Santaco], an umbrella body of different taxi associations, said the killings have left the industry "confused" because there were no disputes in the taxi industry.

ALSO READ | Another Eastern Cape taxi operator killed

Its deputy chairperson in the Eastern Cape, Gabs Mtshala, said:
All the chairpersons of the different associations, some serving in Santaco structures, have been left confused. We don’t know the motives of these killings, four people in four weeks is an alarmingly high statistic.

Asked to describe the mood in the taxi industry concerning the killings, Mtshala said: "We are dizzy."

Kinana said the police were investigating the circumstances surrounding Mgobo's killing.

It was reported he was driving his vehicle and was shot and killed while approaching his house.

READ | Mbalula slams recent Cape Town taxi violence as 'disappointing'

A case of murder had been opened and the police were investigating, with no arrests yet being made, added Kinana.

He said anyone with information should call station commander Lieutenant-Colonel Ngcwangule at 071 475 1921.

Mtshala said he led a delegation of Santaco members who visited Mgobo's home on Monday.

He added: 
We reiterate that there is peace in taxi organisations. We are all blank. Remember in different levels of Santaco, we have members of different organisations and even today we held a meeting and we call came to one conclusion that the attacks could not be possibly taxi-related.

Mtshala said since Mgobo was also a tavern owner, it could be that the attack came from the tavern sector.

ALSO | Gqeberha taxi association chairperson shot dead

The president of the Eastern Cape Liquor Forum, which represents 3 000 taverns and bottles stores, Winston Hector, said there were no war among tavern owners.

Hector added:

We are also shocked by this news, but I can confirm to you that there are no disputes or wars amongst tavern owners. I spoke to our secretary-general, he is from Komani and I also communicated with all our members in the province on our WhatsApp group, there is no disputes.

The attacks started on 15 July when the Uncedo Taxi Association chairperson in the Nelson Mandela Bay region, Diki Zamani, was gunned down in Njoli, Gqeberha, while sitting in his parked car.

On 17 July, Border Alliance Taxi Association operator Sinethemba Dyani, 40, was also gunned down inside his Quantum mini-bus in East London while preparing to depart for the Qonce taxi rank where he worked.

On 31 July, Mqanduli Taxi Association chairperson Wiseman Phandiwonga Gxalathane, 65, was shot dead outside his home in Ndungunyeni.
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