Crucial evidence in taxi feud draws blank

Kamogelo Seekoei and Tebogo Monama

Kamogelo Seekoei and Tebogo Monama

The video of the Bree Street taxi rank shooting two months ago has mysteriously gone blank.

Police had earlier said the footage would reveal who started the shooting between two rival Johannesburg taxi associations; the Faraday Taxi Association and the Dobsonville, Roodepoort, Leratong and Johannesburg Taxi Association (Dorljota).

The associations have been waging a violent war over routes since April.

The video contained information about an incident in which a taxi driver was shot dead and four other people wounded in a shootout at the busy Bree rank.

"Closed circuit television cameras inside the rank will be studied to identify those involved," Captain Bhekizizwe Mavundla said at the time.

But now the tape of the incident is alleged to have been damaged.

Peter Mabe, of Dorljota, said police have been giving his association regular updates on the eight cases that it has opened.

"They have informed us that they cannot see anything from the footage taken on the day of shooting," he said.

Gauteng police spokesperson Sanku Tsunke would not comment about the content of the video. He said its content was confidential.

Tsunke said the police have so far arrested Lucky Magudulela, a member of Faraday Taxi Association, in connection with the shooting.

"He appeared in the Johannesburg magistrates' court and was granted a R5000 bail," said Tsunke.

Meanwhile Faraday Taxi Association would not say how many cases it had opened against it rival, Dorljota.

The feud between the two taxi bodies broke out over which association should use two busy routes - Hendrik Potgieter Drive in Randburg and Radiokop in Honeydew.

A temporary pilot project, Kamina, Kawena - meaning my turn, your turn - was introduced to bring peace between the feuding associations.

In terms of the peace deal both associations agreed to share the routes. This has ushered in an uneasy peace since May.

Other parts of Gauteng have recently have also been violent spots.

In Katlehong, Ekurhuleni, two policemen were attacked by taxi operators who threw stones at officers and shot at them when they went to investigate an incident.

A policeman was shot in the head when a taxi driver tried to disarm him. The officer is still in a critical condition at a hospital. The driver also shot his colleague in the stomach during the scuffle.

Louis Botha Avenue in Johannesburg has also been the centre of dispute between Alexandra taxi associations and buses.

Members of the Alexandra Taxi Association and the Alexandra-Randburg-Midrand-Sandton Taxi Association have been stopping buses and forcing bus passengers to use the association's taxis.