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AGE OF THE ASSASSIN

Paarl rocked by second taxi-related killing in a week

Paarl rocked by second taxi-related killing in a week
Illustrative image: A minibus taxi is seen at Joe Slovo taxi rank where four people were injured after a shooting on 19 June 2018 in Milnerton, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Jaco Marais)

With four killings in four months, violence is escalating in Paarl almost two years after a peace deal was signed by warring taxi associations.

Taxi violence has flared up again in Paarl, with yet another killing of a taxi operator. The murder, on Saturday morning, is suspected to be in retaliation for a killing earlier in the week. The victim, who is yet to be identified, belonged to an association affiliated with the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata).

Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk confirmed the fatal shooting. He said Paarl East police had registered a murder case.

“According to reports on 2023-06-10 at 08:45, SAPS members attended an incident of shooting at Jan van Riebeeck Road opposite the stadium where they were informed over the radio about a person who has been shot and [is] still sitting in a car.”

Van Wyk said officers found the deceased in a car with a gunshot wound to the head.

“Circumstances surrounding this incident are under investigation. Detectives of the Provincial Serious and Violent Crime: Taxi Violence Unit have been assigned to probe the matter.”

This was the second taxi-related killing in less than a week in Paarl. On Tuesday, 6 June, the chairperson of the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta) in Paarl, Siyabulela Mandyoli, was fatally shot in front of his house while chatting to his wife.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Paarl Codeta chairperson killed outside his home, now ‘we’re all worried’, say other taxi bosses

Paarl residents told Daily Maverick that taxi operators had been holding sporadic meetings, sometimes at night, since Tuesday’s incident. They said that despite the police presence, gunshots had become common as their area appeared to be moving away from the peace deal that was signed in 2021 after the deadly conflict over the B97 route, which runs between Paarl and Bellville. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Peace accord on the table as Western Cape police report that taxi conflict has subsided for second day

In 2021, associations aligned to Cata and Codeta fought for months over the route and more than 80 people died due to the clashes.

It is unclear whether the renewed violence is again linked to the B97 route, but there has been a pattern in the killing of prominent taxi leaders linked to the two associations.

In April 2023, Sizwe Khobocwana — the chairperson of Route 1 between Khayelitsha, Wynberg and Claremont — was shot repeatedly in his vehicle in front of his home on Dorado Road, Kuils River.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Cape Town Codeta taxi boss gunned down outside home

A month later, Charmaine Bailey — Cata secretary and a training officer for the Cata Regional Taxi Council — was fatally shot during a meeting at Wynberg.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Yet another taxi kingpin gunned down in Cape Town as industry violence intensifies

The police are yet to make arrests in any of these cases.

Western Cape Mobility MEC Ricardo Mackenzie said he was infuriated by this second violent minibus taxi-related crime in the area in a week. He said such violence threatened commuters, the minibus taxi industry and the public transport sector more broadly.

“The minibus taxi industry must prioritise commuter safety with strong leadership and respect for the rule of law — anything less is a dereliction of their moral and legal duties,” said Mackenzie.

“Since Tuesday, the Mobility Ministry and department officials have been working around the clock — in constant communication with all stakeholders, conducting observations on the ground and facilitating meetings to urgently assert stability in the industry. Meetings have continued over the weekend including today.

“I have personally been engaging with Santaco [SA National Taxi Council] leadership this week and have requested priority meetings with the SAPS, the Western Cape minister of police oversight and community safety and the National Prosecuting Authority.” DM

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  • Paddy Ross says:

    In many modern cities, transport is fully integrated and essentially run by the local government. Trains, buses, taxis and even cyclists working together for the benefit of the people of that city.

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