Taxi violence in Polokwane claims a life, but was avoidable

By Katlego Suzan Phala (MPL), DA Limpopo Spokesperson on Transport:

Reports this afternoon indicate that the Manager of Mankweng Taxi Rank, Mr Ben Nonyana, was shot and killed by rival taxi factions today at the Mall of the North. The lethal shot came from close range, and hit Mr Nonyana’s head.

Taxi violence at the Mankweng Taxi Rank has been boiling over recently, and the DA is on record calling for Premier Mathabatha to intervene, to negotiate a truce and to install security at the Rank. The DA has written to the Premier on many previous occasions calling for his intervention.

But Premier Mathabatha has ignored the calls, and has done nothing to secure the commuters and the taxi operators who use Mankweng Taxi Rank. Now a man has died, while the Premier has sat idly.

Limpopo Premier, Stan Mathabatha must be held accountable for the ongoing tension that is mounting between Mankweng Taxi Association factions. For this reason, the DA will submit written questions to Premier Mathabatha on what he has done to calm taxi violence in the province, and whether he has engaged the taxi associations after the strong warnings from the DA.

This unfortunate incident could have been avoided had the Premier Mathabatha and MEC Mapula Mokaba Phukwane intervened when they were warned. They missed out on the opportunity to avert this taxi violence death.

Taxi violence adversely affects commuters, leaves scores of residents frustrated and adversely impacts economic productivity. The DA is deeply concerned about the safety of the commuters and other taxi operators.

We condemn the violence and call for urgent police presence in the area in ensuring that the lives of all commuters and other taxi operators are safe. It’s also critical that the different operators start a process of mediation to resolve the current dispute, which we believe should be led by the transport MEC.

The DA urges Premier Mathabatha to act swiftly, to call in additional Police presence and to intervene in resolving this bloodshed bedeviling our taxi associations.