KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Bheki Ntuli, has assigned a high-level team from the department’s Public Transports Unit to move swiftly and intervene following the brutal shooting at a taxi rank in Mandeni.
Yesterday, the department received a report about a shooting which resulted to the killing of two people and left twelve sustaining injuries after violence ensued between Nembe-Macambini Taxi Association and a group of illegal taxi operators. The conflict is believed to be around the contestation of an “illegal” taxi rank and illegal taxi operations which has been a subject of dispute for the past few years in the area.
Following consultations between the Department of Transport and the local municipality, a decision was taken to close down the illegal taxi rank as part of enforcing regulations and ensuring compliance with the law. All legal operators were directed to return to the main rank and seize to operate on the illegal rank as this was exacerbating the situation.
Commenting following yesterday’s shooting, MEC Ntuli described the situation as totally deplorable and called on taxi operators to desist from violent tactics. “We are utterly disturbed by the involvement of security companies in this fatal shooting and as such have referred this matter for further investigation and possible punitive measures. I have deployed a team comprising of SAPS and officials from the Department of Transport to urgently attend to this matter. The department has been dealing with the situation at Mandeni for the past few years and we are of a view that drastic decisions within the confines of the law will have to be taken to save innocent commuters. Already police deployments and operations have been intensified in the area and investigations are underway ” said MEC Ntuli.
MEC Ntuli has been briefed by the Public Transport team working on the matter and more engagements with all affected stakeholders are going to be facilitated during the course of next week.
Among some of government’s long-term intervention in stabilising and professionalising the taxi industry has been to embark on a National Discourse which was launched by the Minister of Transport today. Among other key objectives of the discourse is to address deficiencies in governance and leadership, while regulating and professionalising the taxi industry. The province will soon announce its detailed consultation processes of the public discourse. MEC Ntuli will also be embarking on a series of engagements with relevant stakeholders in the province which will assist in consolidating a submission to the National Taxi Lekgotla.