Dispute could have sparked fire

ARSON DESTRUCTION: Lovemore Sithole standing outside the taxi association office that was burnt in Sebokeng. Pic. Len Kumalo. 24/07/07. © Sowetan.
ARSON DESTRUCTION: Lovemore Sithole standing outside the taxi association office that was burnt in Sebokeng. Pic. Len Kumalo. 24/07/07. © Sowetan.

Ntwaagae Seleka

Ntwaagae Seleka

Police in the Vaal have launched an arson investigating after fire gutted a freight container which housed the offices of the Masoheng Taxi Association.

Both owners and drivers belonging to the association suspect the fire, that destroyed the container, could have been sparked by an internal dispute.

Members of the association, which has 68 members, arrived at their Sebokeng office and found the container burnt out yesterday morning.

Among the items destroyed were computers, files, permits and furniture.

Vice-chairman Lovemore Sithole said he suspected the blaze was the result of arson following a dispute between members.

At issue is compliance with the association's regulations which require that operators use roadworthy and properly registered vehicles.

"We suspect the person who set fire to our office has a vendetta against the association.

"There is no person who would set our office alight for no reason.

"Everything that was inside the office went up in flames," Sithole said.

"We have to start from the beginning. All our important documents are gone."

Some of the operators suspected the motive was that certain taxi operators wanted to operate illegally within their own association.

Unlike conventional minibus taxis, the association operates private cars and is restricted to Sebokeng.

Masoheng chairman April Maseko said he believed a link existed between the fire and an attack earlier this year in which unknown people fired bullets at his house.

He said he had laid charges, but the culprits have never been brought to book.

Sebokeng police spokesman Superintendent Nthabiseng Mazibuko said a case of arson was being investigated.

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