Ndebele vows to bring justice in taxi murder case

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Johannesburg - Police will leave no stone unturned in their search for the killers of taxi boss Mthuthuzeli Molefe.

This was a message from Transport Minister Sbusiso Ndebele who addressed the mourners at a memorial service of Joburg's well known taxi boss on Thursday.

Molefe, deputy president of the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO), was gunned down outside his Evaton home last Friday. The motive for the killing is still unknown and police are investigating.

"Regardless of where the killers are, the long arm of the law will search for them. We have no doubt they will be arrested very soon," Ndebele said.

He lambasted incorrect media reports, which claimed that Molefe was killed shortly after he had a meeting with him.

"This is not true. Molefe did not meet with (me) at Gallagher Estate in Johannesburg last Friday," Ndebele said.

Instead, Ndebele said, Molefe attended a report-back meeting with SANTACO and officials from the Department of Transport, led by Deputy Director-General George Mahlalela, at Gallagher Estate. According to the department, Ndebele did not attend the meeting.

The minister said government has worked hard to bring peace to the taxi industry, describing Molefe's killers as nothing but assassins.

"I know that the majority in this industry have turned their backs on violence. Those who wish to continue with violence must know that they do not belong here, they belong in jail".

Criminals who attempted to undo the work done in the industry must face the consequences of their actions in a manner that sends a clear message to others that society will no longer tolerate their behavior, he said.

"Violence must cease forever to be a tool for power. Negotiations are the only means through which we have chosen to resolve our differences with the taxi industry," Ndebele said.

He said government remained committed to the intentions of the National Joint Working Group (NJWG) on Public Transport, launched in June.

"We want to re-emphasize today that our agenda is very broad, deliberately so, so we can table everything and any issue for the NJWG to discuss," he said, adding that stakeholders in public transport must work tirelessly towards the success of the NJWG.

"Molefe's death must spur us on, and not deter us, to complete the mission of broadening the role of the taxi industry in our transport sector and our economy," said Ndebele.