STRING OF CRIMES
Taxi boss Bonke Makalala appears in Cape Town court facing multiple charges
The high-profile Cape Town taxi boss was in hiding when he was arrested in Gauteng following a joint operation involving crime intelligence and detectives from three provinces.
Cape Town boss and businessman Bonke Makalala appeared in the Athlone Magistrates’ Court on Thursday morning. He faces six charges including murder, attempted murder and the illegal possession of firearms.
Last Sunday, police arrested Makalala in the posh Pretoria suburb of Silver Lakes. The taxi boss was wanted in connection with a string of crimes. He is a member of the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata).
At the time of his arrest, police found Makalala in possession of a loaded firearm, cell phones and laptops.
Police have also opened a case against him for allegedly impersonating a police officer after he was caught on video driving a police vehicle in July this year.
See video clip here:
Makalala started as a taxi driver in 2008, buying his first minibus taxi in 2013. That same year, he formed Makalala Trans, a company that now has over 16 taxis, two buses and several trucks. His other interests include a funeral parlour, cleaning services and construction.
In his hometown of Tsomo in the Eastern Cape, he is regarded as something of a local hero – a successful businessman and generous to boot.
Earlier this year, he paid for a damaged bridge to be repaired.
Makalala is facing six charges relating to offences dating back to 2018.
The court heard that, on 17 August 2018, in Old Crossroads, Nyanga, the accused was arrested for possession of an unlicensed 9mm firearm. A similar offence was allegedly committed in the same area in 2020.
Charges of attempted murder go back to 2019 when Makalala allegedly shot and wounded a woman by the name of Asive Batwali, and a nine-year-old child.
Prosecutor Nico Breyl said the state contended that Makalala had “acted in concert with other unknown persons acting with a common purpose.”
The murder charge relates to the killing of another taxi boss in 2019.
There was a heavy police presence at the court and several taxi drivers were there in support of the accused.
Makalala will appear in court again on 19 December. He remains in custody. DM