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Drivers believe taxi industry is run by violence and fear

Last week Thursday, a local taxi boss of Masihambisane Taxi Owners Association was gunned down in oSizweni. The attack was undoubtedly one of the most gruesome premeditated murders seen in Newcastle in recent years.

A taxi boss has been killed following the recent outbreak of violence from taxi associations in Newcastle two weeks ago.

Last week Thursday, a local taxi boss of Masihambisane Taxi Owners Association was gunned down in oSizweni.

The attack was undoubtedly one of the most gruesome premeditated murders seen in Newcastle in recent years.

Following this attack, armed taxi drivers from Gauteng drove into Newcastle on Friday morning.

It is alleged that these drivers were in the process of retaliating against Sizwe Taxi Association, and the taxi association had a major part in the violence and cause of the taxi owner’s death.

Newcastle police officers noticed the Gauteng taxis, and together with help from members of Ulundi’s Public Order Police (POP) searched and arrested the taxi drivers.

More than seven people were arrested for their involvement in the current taxi violence.

The cycle of violence is seemingly endless at the moment, and although local, regional and national taxi councils have suggested steps to stop the violence, many taxi drivers see no end in sight.

“They try to kill us and we mustn’t kill back?

“No, we will fight,” said one taxi driver, speaking on condition of anonymity.

He explained the taxi drivers believed they had to protect their livelihoods, even if it meant people had to be killed.

“People don’t understand- sometimes you must shoot first. Everyday we drive, and we are thinking one of these guys are going to try to kill me.”

He did however critisise the killing of the taxi bosses, because by killing a boss, the people just made things worse.

“The boss has a son, or friends who will come after you if you kill him, and they have money to do it. The taxi drivers, we just have each other.”

The current war began over a conflict between the two organisations regarding the use and levies charge by the associations for Long Distance Routes (LDRs).

A price difference of around R20 between the two organisations’ prices for a ticket, seemingly sparked the violence.

The municipality has taken a stand against the taxi violence and implemented stringent security measures in the rank.

Coupled with this, task forces of police officers from different parts of the country have been assembled to help quell the ongoing violence.

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