Gauteng MEC for roads and transport Ismail Vadi has warned that if it turns out the culprit responsible for burning a Taxify driver in the boot of a car is a metered taxi operator, the department would not hesitate to shut down all operations of metered taxis in the province.
Vadi was speaking to the media today during a visit to the family of the murdered driver. He was accompanied by the province’s MEC for community safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane.
Siyabonga Langelihle Ngcobo’s body was found in the boot of a burnt Taxify vehicle last Thursday near Unisa Sunnyside campus in Pretoria.
Vadi said what happened to Ngcobo was inhuman and he wondered what kind of human being would attack a young person with a bright future in that nature, especially a young person who had the potential to contribute positively to society.
“We can’t carry on like this, we can’t have barbarism and barbaric behavior being a new norm to resolve what is basically a business dispute. It’s a commercial interest matter, we can’t allow lives to be taken in this kind of way. It is just unacceptable.”
The 21-year-old Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) student had just joined the company a week prior to his murder to make extra money.
Taxify drivers have blamed meter taxi drivers, a claim which they strongly deny.
According to reports, police were called after Ngcobo had been kidnapped, but allegedly told people they were not interested in taxi wars.
The MEC for community safety said they will not rest until the perpetrators have been brought to book.
“For us it’s shocking that someone can take someone’s life like this. This young man was showing that he was going to contribute to the family’s growth. Whoever has done this will be punished. We won’t rest until whoever is responsible is arrested,” she said.
She said Uber and Taxify drivers came in numbers to register for permits but metered taxi drivers were sluggish in making attempts to obtain permits.
“Those who don’t come forward, we suspect it’s people who are not clean because we take fingerprints to check if you are not linked to criminal activities…We can’t expose our people to people who have violent criminal records.”
Nkosi-Malobane said they will ensure that everyone is registered and those who are not prepared to register will have their vehicles impounded.