Another EL taxi operator gunned down at home

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A second East London taxi operator has been shot dead as rumours of a hit-list said to contain the names of Mdantsane East London Taxi Association (Meta) members mount.

The 42-year-old taxi operator was gunned down on Saturday evening at his home in NU10, Mdantsane, police confirmed yesterday.

TRAGEDY: Emergency personnel respond to an incident of taxi violence in Mthatha on September 22 last year Picture: FILE
TRAGEDY: Emergency personnel respond to an incident of taxi violence in Mthatha on September 22 last year Picture: FILE

The man, whose identity has not been released, had returned a few hours before his own death from the funeral of his colleague Xolile Baliso, gunned down in similar fashion over a week ago in NU14.

South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) Eastern Cape leader Noluntu Mahashe said the situation was getting out of control.

Mahashe said they had heard of a hit-list, but accused police of not doing anything to avoid the shootings.

Meta chairman Michael Mphunga said police were dragging their feet and Saturday’s victim had been aware “he was next in line”.

The latest death brings to five the number of Meta members shot since last year.

In March Xolani Mapuma was shot dead at a Mdantsane taxi rank. A few months later Saziso Joka, 65, was shot and killed near Needs Camp and in September, Xolani Sontshatsha was shot and seriously wounded outside his East London CBD townhouse.

Mdantsane police spokesman Captain Nkosikho Mzuku said the motive behind the latest killing was unknown and that no arrests had been made.

“Police through its intelligence are working around the clock with its major stakeholders in a fight against crime to curb these shootings,” said Mzuku.

“All angles are being investigated, including possible linkages – we won’t leave any stone unturned.”

Mzuku said they were unable to confirm if a hit-list existed as they were not aware of it.

Santaco and Meta both believe the police are not doing enough to crack the case.

Mphunga said: “Police are dragging their feet even when there is evidence in the form of the hit-list. We do not know how many people must die for them to pull up their socks.”

Mahashe said Santaco in the province believed the killings were linked to a clash of personalities and politics between members of Meta and Melta (Mdantsane East London and District Taxi Association).

To this end, her office had escalated the matter to Santaco’s national office and a meeting with head office leaders was being facilitated.

She said those killed had known their names were on the list. “Everyone is talking about it but police are not acting quick enough.”

Melta public relations officer Welile Blayi said they were calling for a quick and peaceful solution to the matter. — zingisam@dispatch.co.za

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