Taxi industry ‘in the dark’ over wave of violence in Tshwane

Police arrest 10 men in Moot shootout. Photo: Carli Koch

Last Wednesday, a massive shootout broke out at the Tshwane district hospital gate which left one suspect dead and three police officers wounded.

The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) in Tshwane said it was “in the dark” over a spate of deadly taxi violence in the metro this year.

Santaco Tshwane regional spokesperson Mack Makata said it was “unfortunate” that his association was losing members’ lives.

“As for the cause thereof, we are in the dark.”

Makata said it was therefore hard to address issues internally and externally affecting the taxi industry.

“We can only mitigate if we know what causes the killings, unfortunately.”

He said the taxi industry was worried over the killings.

“Everyone has to worry when people are killed in any situation, whether by accident or otherwise. Lives are lives irrespective of how they are lost.”

He said the taxi industry was cooperating with the law enforcement agencies to deal with the killings “which deprived families of breadwinners”.

Makata said it was the duty of law enforcement agencies to handle investigations and arrest perpetrators as the industry was only handling the business side.

“We urge all associations to come forward whenever they have issues, whether internal or external,” said Makata.

The taxi that was shot at. Photo: Carli Koch

In the last eight months, the taxi industry has witnessed several deadly shootouts in the Tshwane area.

Last Wednesday, a massive shootout broke out as taxi violence took place on Dr Savage Street in front of the Tshwane district hospital pathological services gates.

The gun shootout left one suspect dead and three police officers wounded.

“[The] provincial task team that investigates taxi violence was on an intelligence-driven operation where they were tracing a suspect believed to be involved in taxi violence,” said police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters.

A total of 11 suspects were arrested; one was allegedly found with a licensed firearm, but unlicensed ammunition.

The family of the man who was shot dead during the taxi violence have since been angered by the alleged mistaken killing of their father.

Joseph Sikhakhane was shot and killed during a shootout between police and a wanted suspect who was believed to have been in one of the three vehicles which were driving out of the government mortuary at Tshwane district hospital.

“My father was there to collect our deceased relative’s body so it could be taken back home to KwaZulu-Natal. He was not involved in the shooting,” the man’s son Kwenza Sikhakhane told Rekord, adding his father was not the suspect the police were pursuing.

In the moments leading up to the shooting, police, in collaboration with the Gauteng traffic police were said to have intercepted two vehicles and a Toyota Quantum as they were driving out of the government mortuary along Dr Savage Road.

Police arrest 10 men in Moot shootout. Photo: Carli Koch

The people identified as suspects reportedly started shooting and the police responded by returning fire.

Kwenza, albeit understanding why his father was identified as a suspect, said the family was angered as it seemed as though his father had been involved in the shootout.

“My father arrived here earlier this week, with the intention of fetching the body from the mortuary but now he’s also dead. He was supposed to go back home to KwaZulu-Natal on the day he was killed,” the emotional son told Rekord.

When contacted for comment over the allegation that an innocent man was killed, Peters said: “We will not be drawn into conducting the investigation through the media by giving a blow-by-blow account of investigations emanating from the shooting.”

This article first appeared on Rekord East and was republished with permission.

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