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Nyanga cop due to testify against Cape Town taxi boss gunned down in apparent hit

Nyanga cop due to testify against Cape Town taxi boss gunned down in apparent hit
Members of the South African Police Service (SAPS). (Photo: Leila Dougan)

Cape Town’s taxi wars appear to have claimed another victim, this time a policeman who was shot dead in Masiphumelele on the South Peninsula.

A police officer from Nyanga who was scheduled to testify at the trial of high-profile Cape Town taxi boss Bonke Makalala, who is facing charges including murder, has been killed in an apparent hit. 

On Sunday, 25 February, the officer was one of two people killed near the corner of Masemola and Myesa streets in Masiphumelele on Kommetjie Road at around 6pm.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Malcom Pojie confirmed that one of the victims was a policeman.

The motive for the shooting remains unclear. Pojie said the shooting is being investigated by the Hawks.

On Monday, a source close to the investigation told Daily Maverick that the murdered officer, who was stationed at Nyanga Police Station, was meant to testify against taxi boss Bonke Makalala. 

But Western Cape Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Siyabulela Vukubi said that “the DPCI [Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation] is not aware of the deceased being a witness or testifying in a court matter. The taxi-related matters are investigated by the SAPS Provincial Organised Crime. Please contact them on this matter.”

Masiphumelele is one of the hotspots being investigated by the provincial Taxi Task Unit’s Combat Team as part of its probe into taxi-related murders.

On 24 August 2023, police arrested a suspect in connection with a triple murder that was committed in Khayelitsha in December 2022. The suspect was charged with a separate murder in Masiphumelele in June 2023, as well as a house robbery in the nearby Ocean View suburb.

Bonke Makalala, who was identified as a ‘wanted taxi boss’, appears in the Athlone Magistrates’ Court on 14 December 2023. (Photo: Samane Junior Marks)

Makalala was arrested in December 2023 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.

Shortly after his arrest, Makalala appeared in the Athlone Magistrates’ Court and the matter was transferred to the Wynberg Regional Court. 

Makalala is facing six charges relating to offences dating back to 2018. They include a charge of murder and two of attempted murder connected to an incident in which taxi owner Masixole Batwali was shot and killed in 2019 in Old Crossroads, Nyanga.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Taxi boss Bonke Makalala appears in Cape Town court facing multiple charges.”

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.

Police officers Masixole Ngangelwa (35) and Yolisa Ngomso (25) have already appeared in the Simon’s Town Magistrates’ Court as part of an investigation into illicit activities involving Makalala.

The pair, who are based at the Nyanga Police Station, allegedly allowed Makalala to make unauthorised use of a state vehicle. Both were released on R2,000 bail.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Two Cape Town cops in the dock for letting taxi boss use police van

Makalala’s name also cropped up in the fourth quarter crime statistics released by Police Minister Bheki Cele on 16 February. Makalala was mentioned in a section titled, “Construction Mafia”. 

Cele confirmed that Makalala was arrested in December 2023 for involvement in activities related to taxi violence.

Read more in Daily Maverick: SA murder rate up, sexual offences decline, police crack down on construction mafias – Cele

Makalala’s bail application was heard earlier this month in the Wynberg Magistrates’ Court, where prosecutor Nico Breyl made damning allegations that Makalala had attempted to bribe officials while in custody in Malmesbury. 

The case was postponed after both the defence and the state indicated that they had new evidence to present. DM


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