Police Minister Bheki Cele has issued a stern warning to the taxi industry that taxi ranks and operations will be shut down with immediate effect if the lives of commuters are at stake.
“Taking of the law into [your] own hands by taxi associations and criminality will not be tolerated by government. Over the past three months innocent commuters have been shot and killed through taxi violence in the Western Cape,” said Cele.
The Minister was speaking at an engagement between government and industry stakeholders on Sunday.
“As government we need to rise and protect the vulnerable, we cannot allow a situation of bloodshed and lawlessness on our roads. The full might of the law will be felt and heard in all corners,” said the Minister.
The Minister was accompanied by his Deputy Bongani Mkongi, Transport Deputy Minister Sindiswe Chikunga, Safety and Security MEC Dan Plato and Transport MEC Donald Grant.
Cele encouraged stakeholders to use boardrooms and not violence to find lasting solutions.
“Stabilisation and normalisation will be restored in the province going forward. Government’s approach must be tough in enforcing the law on behalf of the weak and vulnerable citizens of the country. Boardrooms are open to engage any industry on issues of national importance,” he said.
The Minister announced that a special dedicated communication line will be created to report taxi violence before it happens.
Furthermore, a multidisciplinary approach will be implemented to intercept instigators of crime especially those that hire hitmen.
A special team of detectives will be dedicated to investigate taxi violence cases in the province.
“Saturation of routes need to be looked into and clarified by government, hijacking of taxi routes by association needs to be corrected. Those that are operating illegally on the routes, police must be seen doing their job and arresting perpetrators, it can’t happen that you kill someone and go home to sleep,” said Cele. – SAnews.gov.za