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TAXI EXTORTION

Police make breakthrough in Imizamo Yethu mass shootings case with arrest of three suspects 

Police make breakthrough in Imizamo Yethu mass shootings case with arrest of three suspects 
Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay on a file photo from 2020. (Photo: Dwayne Senior/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Following the recent mass shootings in Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay, police have apprehended three suspects who have been charged with six counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder.

The suspects were apprehended after a thorough investigation by members of the Provincial Serious and Violent Crimes Unit. They appeared briefly in Wynberg Magistrates Court on Monday.

The accused — plus a fourth not facing a count of murder — will appear in the same court on 9 April to face charges of illegal ammunition possession.

The arrests stem from a mass shooting in Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay, on 27 March during which seven people were killed. The shooting took place at around 7pm when gunmen opened fire on the occupants of a house on Molokwane Street.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘Rule with absolute fear’ – organised crime kingpins target witnesses, detectives to deter investigations’

Initial reports on the ground suggest that the mass shooting was related to taxi extortion, with the order allegedly coming from a taxi boss currently imprisoned in Pollsmoor. However, police were unable to confirm this and stated that the investigation was still in its early stages, with no motive for the murders established.

SAPS initially reported that five males were shot and killed, with two others later dying from their injuries in hospital. However, on Monday, police spokesperson Colonel Andre Traut stated that only one person died in hospital, implying that six people were killed during the shooting.

On Monday, Traut stated that detectives from the Provincial Serious and Violent Crimes Unit worked tirelessly to apprehend those responsible.

“Investigation into the ruthless attack on the victims originally led to the arrest of four suspects last week who were found in possession of seven rounds of ammunition.

“While in custody, detectives pursued further information which resulted in three being charged for the murders. The possession of ammunition case is expected to be heard in court on Tuesday.”

Eastern Cape shooting

Meanwhile, Eastern Cape police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu has confirmed the death of a 30-year-old male who was shot and killed Thursday 28 March at about 7pm at his homestead.

Two unknown men, Naidu added, arrived at his homestead and shot him. He died on the scene. Sources said the car driven by the alleged killers had Cape Town registration plates.

The deceased was a family member of a taxi boss, Masixole Batwali, who was killed on about 19 December 2019, in Old Crossroads, Nyanga.

It is the State’s contention that notorious Eastern Cape taxi boss Bonke Makalala — who faces a string of charges in the Western Cape, including murder, attempted murder and impersonating a police officer — was responsible for killing Batwali by shooting him multiple times.

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

Makalala also played a key role in attempts by taxi formations to force long-distance bus operators to stop competing with minibus taxis. Makalala, who hails from Tsolo in the Eastern Cape and is a member of the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata), was arrested in Pretoria in December last year on alleged crimes dating back to 2018 and 2019.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Intercape attacks — the ‘murderous’ taxi boss at the centre of the long-distance bus extortion saga”

Two months ago, constable Masixole Mgaqelwa of Nyanga police station, who was scheduled to testify against Makalala, was gunned down in an apparent hit.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Nyanga cop due to testify against Cape Town taxi boss gunned down in apparent hit.”

Mgaqelwa and another police officer, Yolisa Ngomso, were accused of assisting Makalala in using a police van without permission. Both were released on bail of R2,000, but Mgaqelwa was shot dead before he could testify against Makalala. DM

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  • Interested Observer says:

    encouraging that there was an investigation and there seems to be culprits in custody. The taxis – if involved – do seem to bring more trouble than benefits they provide. I remember a time when they were not so prevalent and crime seemed not so common.

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