Police warn of taxi violence in Limpopo

Monday, April 11, 2011

Polokwane - Limpopo police are concerned that the shooting of a taxi owner, who is fighting for his life in hospital, may lead to an outbreak of taxi violence.

The 50-year-old taxi owner was shot in the chest outside his house in Roerfontein village in Sekgosese outside Polokwane on Friday night.

"Police have established that the taxi owner was about to enter his house when he was shot by unknown gunmen. The motive for the shooting is unknown, but taxi related disputes cannot be ruled out at this stage," said provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mohale Ramatseba on Monday.

Ramatseba said the taxi owner, whose name has been withheld for safety reasons, was in a critical condition at an undisclosed hospital.

"At this stage, police need help in obtaining information about the attack. We urge those with information to contact their nearest police station. Their communication with the police will be treated with the strictest confidentiality," he said.

Ramatseba said in a separate incident, commuters were forced to use other means of transport to reach work following taxi violence between the Apel and Sekhukhune taxi associations on Monday morning.

"Two rival taxi associations engaged in a dispute over routes. This dispute is not connected to the shooting of the taxi owner from Roerfontein village, but it is also serious," he said.

He said a minibus taxi believed to belong to the Sekhukhune Taxi Association was pelted with stones and damaged during the altercation.

"Two other minibuses belonging to the Apel Taxi Association were hijacked and one of them was found set alight a few minutes after it went missing on the same morning," Ramatseba said. Police have not made any arrests. 

Limpopo provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Amon Mashigo urged the two rival taxi associations to resolve their disputes without resorting to violence.

"We are sending a strong message to the warring taxi associations to resolve their disputes amicably as innocent people like commuters might be caught in the cross fire," said Mashigo.

He said more police officers had been deployed to monitor the situation on the two routes. - BuaNews