Police Minister Bheki Cele and KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Bheki Ntuli were locked in a high-level meeting with police top-brass in the province today to discuss practical interventions to end the ongoing killings in the taxi industry.
Minister Cele and MEC Ntuli received a detailed briefing from police on pending cases involving commuters and members in the Ndwedwe and District Taxi Association that have been killed as a result of taxi-industry violence.
In the meeting it transpired that six murders and 17 attempted murder incidents linked to the Ndwedwe and District Taxi Association have occurred in recent months.
Minister Cele and MEC Ntuli were also briefed on the contributing factors to the ongoing carnage and have assembled a joint intergovernmental task-team to facilitate peaceful negotiations and clear matters of conflict.
MEC Ntuli said special attention will also be given to the Mpumalanga and District Taxi Association, Lower South Coast Taxi Association, Dolphin Coast Taxi Association, Richards Bay Taxi Association and Swayimane Taxi Association which have also been engulfed with violence.
Commenting after the meeting, MEC Ntuli expressed satisfaction with the comprehensive security plan presented of addressing the conflict which will be accompanied by strong police presence to monitor the movement of vehicles in the affected area and protect commuters.
“Our meeting today with Police Minister Bheki Cele and taxi industry role players is an important step towards finding a long-lasting solution to the conflict that has engulfed the industry. We have embarked on a multi-pronged strategy which includes strengthening security, improving intelligence and exploring all legal avenues to intervene decisively. As part of the process, I will be consulting Premier Sihle Zikalala and Members of the Executive Council on some of the key proposals to ensure peace and instability in the taxi industry. As government we have a responsibility to protect every citizen, more importantly innocent commuters. We will not sit idle and watch when innocent people are being killed, one death is one too many,” said MEC Ntuli.
Over the next few days, MEC Ntuli will be engaged in intense consultations with all affected stakeholders and individuals to share government’s intentions and plan of action in dealing with this scourge.