Taxi violence claims boy’s life


A 13-YEAR-OLD boy died after taxi violence in KwaNdengezi township as Zwelibomvu taxi association took a violent turn on Wednesday.

Samkelo Xaba died on Wednesday afternoon after being hit by a stray bullet during a shoot-out between the rank’s security team and four heavily suspected hitmen who had allegedly come to assassinate some senior members of the association who were at the
taxi rank’s offices.

Xaba died on the spot while one of the unidentified senior members of the association sustained injuries and was rushed to a local hospital for urgent medical attention.

The boy’s violent death comes at a time when the association is battling to contain assassination attempts of its top brass. Last year alone two of its members
were murdered. Elsewhere in the province, there is a resurgence of taxi violence in Hammarsdale, Ladysmith and Nteke, outside Durban.

As result of unabating violence in Ladysmith, the provincial department of transport, in December last year, temporarily suspended taxi operations in order to bring stability. It was, however, forced to rescind that decision after the community complained that it was being affected and went on the rampage, burning buses and properties in the area.

Commenting on the latest incident, the province’s MEC for transport, Mxolisi Kaunda, said it was sad that the impact of taxi violence was spreading on innocent members of the society
who had nothing to do with the ongoing conflict between the factions in the taxi industry.

Kaunda said that the attackers who managed to escape were not off the hook as a high-level team of police detectives had been assembled to investigate the matter.

“We find it very painful that a family has lost their innocent child, because of taxi violence. This does not only inflict pain on the family, but it also destroys the fabric of society and the future of our nation. The suspect, who fired shots at the young boy must face the full might of the law. We wish to extend our deepest condolences to the Xaba family, who have lost their son. As the government, we will not rest until there is stability in the province,” Kaunda said.

He also condemned the ongoing killings in the taxi industry, saying joint efforts are needed to work for stability in the taxi industry.

He said he recently met with the leadership of the taxi to discuss flashpoint areas and to assess policing plans as well as to tighten investigations for the purposes of successful prosecution.

“In our meeting with the police, we agreed to review and beef up our plans in all notorious areas in the province. We are paying maximum attention to all areas engulfed by taxi conflict.”