Calm restored after taxi shoot-out

Simon Mbhele, chairman of the Pietermaritzburg Long-Distance Taxi Association (PLDTA) said both associations were bound to an agreement after a meeting with Mxolisi Kaunda, the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison.
“Calm has been restored and the taxis are functioning as normal. Nothing will change. The taxis will travel on the route and load passengers on their designated routes,”said Simon Mbhele, chairman of the Pietermaritzburg Long-Distance Taxi Association (PLDTA).

Also read: Breaking News: Pmb under siege as taxi violence erupts again
Mirroring Mbhele’s sentiments PLDTA committee member, Thandazani Dhlomo added, however, that Howick operators have not been sanctioned to take passengers from Pietermaritzburg to Howick.
Secretary of the Howick Taxi Association Bheki Makhaye said although peace has been restored and transportation continues as normal, the violent outburst on Friday was uncalled for.
Describing the incident, Makhaye said minutes before the shoot-out, the PLDTA members had ordered them to vacate the Masukwana rank.
“They told us to get out of the rank, forcing the drivers out. Pietermaritzburg opened fire on us. It is then that our drivers from Howick retaliated in order to protect themselves. We had our security guards there and the car that was burned belonged to our security company. It is really unfortunate that an innocent life was lost. I am totally against any form of violence,” said Makhaye.

 


South African National Taxi and Commuters Organisation (SANTACO) regional chairperson, Bheki Sokhela said although the situation was calm, the association was still on high alert to reign in their members if any possible altercations occur.
“The situation is calm right now. The matter is being handled by the court,”said Sokhela, adding that taxi drivers had been briefed on how to handle turf-war quarrels.
“Any problem that they have must not be dealt with in a physical manner but rather we must leave it to the court to handle it,” said Sokhela.

 
Taxi commuters are still, however, wary of using taxis on routes between Howick and Pietermaritzburg following last week’s mayhem, where bystander 35-year-old Thulasizwe Ngubane from Smero, Edendale, was shot and killed in the crossfire between GRH Executive Protection and Tactical Services securities, linked to the Howick Taxi operators and Pietermaritzburg operators.
Six members from the security company were remanded in custody until June 12 for a bail application after a brief appearance in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate Court, on Monday.
The men face 22 charges, including murder, six counts of attempted murder, malicious damage to property, and discharge of a firearm in a public place and negligent use of firearm.
The accused Thembinkosi Vezi, 38, Mzokhona Nicolas Goge, 37, Sboniso Cele, 32, Thembinkosi Dominic Mchunu, 40, Sandile Wiseman Mabhida, 40, and Adreas Poswa, 39, did not plead to any charges.
Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Spokesperson, Mbuyiselo Ndlovu said the MEC was in continuous talks with the taxi associations and was scheduled to visit the family of slain Thulasizwe Ngubane this week.

  AUTHOR
Bongeka Sibisi and Shorne Bennie

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