20 February 2013

South Africa: Kwazulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Willies Mchunu Calls for Calm After Two Taxi Operators Were Gunned Down in Durban

press release

KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Mr Willies Mchunu calls for calm and restraint following the fatal shooting of two taxi operators in Warwick Avenue, Durban. Reports reveal that today (20 February 2013) at about 9h30, a shootout erupted and left two people dead and three sustained serious injuries.

It is alleged that this shootout may have ensued over a taxi route between Durban to the Eastern Cape. The two associations, the Eastern Cape based association Border Taxi Association and Ncedo are believed to have long history of dispute over this taxi route.

The shooting happened at an illegally occupied taxi rank and Mchunu has directed the Ethekwini municipality to shut down that ranking space.

Previously the Municipality had issued and subsequently withdrew the authority to operate in that rank. The last operation was on 22 December 2012. Despite the withdrawal, these association came this morning and started operating illegally.

Mchunu commended the police for swift reaction as they managed to apprehend two suspects immediately after the incident occurred. Two cases of murder and two of attempted murder were opened. The suspects are expected to appear in court soon. Mchunu described this incident as an unfortunate and unacceptable.

"It is unacceptable that people can attack and kill others on a broad daylight, endangering the lives of commuters. We condemn violence, especially disruption in the CBD have a potential of negatively affecting other transport operations.

We are in contact with the Eastern Cape Department of Transport in trying to resolve this matter. Police have also assured us that the Taxi Violence Task Team is now in charge of monitoring the situation and we hope the situation will normalise.

Prompt response by the police has resulted in the arrest of two suspects. I have also directed the Department in KwaZulu-Natal to facilitate an urgent meeting with the affected associations while engaging the Eastern Cape government. I would like to send my condolences to the families of the deceased and wish a speedy recovery to those who were hospitalised," said Mchunu.

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