The president of the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) Phillip Taaibosch has said taxi violence is the worst in Gauteng, with conflict lesser in other provinces, and has said a lack of political leadership was to blame for the scourge not being addressed.
Taaibosch was on Monday testifying at the commission of inquiry into taxi violence.
Taaibosch told the commission that the practice of collecting tariffs through a “bucket system” where money is paid weekly was one of the reasons behind the killings in the taxi industry.
This practice, he said, has never been on the agenda of the association when it convenes meetings but money was still be collected through the “bucket system”.
Taaibosch told the commission that some powerful individuals within the taxi industry were behind some of the wrongs within it.
The infamous izinkabi, hired hitman, originally were intended to provide security at taxi ranks, Taaibosch said, making an example that in instances when a woman would be harassed at the rank, the hitman would then step in.
However, powerful individuals within the industry have redirected the role of the hitman to now carry out killings, Taaibosch said.
Other reasons that fuelled taxi violence were the mismanagement of funds, government’s interference the management of taxi associations and the availability of money which is not accounted for, Taaibosch said.
Another reason was the recruiting of too many people to join taxi associations which lead to profits being shared among more people which cause conflict and results in violence, Taaibosch said.
Taaibosch also told the commission that there was a plan to have one taxi association in each town and that reducing the number of these structures could see a decline in taxi violence.
Taaibosch took issue with law enforcement, in particular in Gauteng, saying it is compromised, with most of its employees part of the taxi industry.
He further took issue with law enforcement for failing to apprehend those behind taxi killings.
The commission’s spokesperson, Koena Moabelo said Santaco’s chief strategic manager Bafana Magagula will take the stand on Tuesday to give the commission figures on taxi killings across the country.