Commuters face double jeopardy, says DA

Kamogelo Seekoei

Kamogelo Seekoei

Taxi passengers in the Johannesburg area are in danger and should be worried about their lives every time they board a taxi, says DA spokesman on traffic, Anne Barnes.

She said yesterday commuters faced double jeopardy every time they boarded a taxi.

"It's not just the danger of being caught in a shootout. But also the fact that transport officials refuse to acknowledge there are problems," she said.

On Monday, Top Six Association boss Sicelo Mabaso, played down the conflict that has claimed the lives of operators and passengers around Johannesburg.

He said the battle between Dobsonville-Roodepoort-Leratong-Johannesburg Taxi Association and Faraday Taxi Association over the Hendrik Potgieter Road route had not yet been declared a formal war.

But more than 12 operators from both associations as well as passengers, have been killed in shootings this year.

Yesterday, the Meadowlands-Dube-Noord Taxi Association and the Bara-Meadowlands Taxi Association from Soweto entered Joburg's undeclared taxi war. They took their battle for the Meadowlands route to the streets and a passenger was killed by a stray bullet.

"Last week it was a passer-by, today it is a passenger who has been killed as taxi drivers continue to dispute routes," said Barnes.

She said the violence has boiled out of control as operators were killing the very people who put food on their tables.

"Taxi drivers and associations really can't complain when passengers turn to alternate forms of transport," she said.

Barnes said city transport officials needed to step up their efforts, and they needed to do that immediately.

"There has been enough talk. We all know there is a problem, so act before unruly taxi drivers kill another motorist, or heaven forbid a tourist".