Bodies applaud hitmen arrest

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Two feuding taxi associations have distanced themselves from both alleged hitmen arrested on Tuesday for a spate of shootings near the Clearwater Mall and Bree Street ranks in Johannesburg.

The fight between the Dobsonville, Roodepoort, Leratong, Johannesburg Taxi Association (Dorljota) and Faraday Taxi Association (FTA) has claimed the lives of at least 18 people this year.

More than 20 lives have been lost this year in the contest over lucrative routes between the city centre and nearby Randburg.

Superintendent Wayne Minnaar of the metro police said officers were tipped off and swooped on the suspects on Tuesday afternoon.

"Someone called the police saying that people were planning to carry out an attack on taxis."

He said police immediately swarmed to the corner of Roodepoort and Main Reef roads where the men were waiting for their intended victims.

Officers confiscated an unlicensed 9mm pistol when they arrested the men.

"I can guarantee you those people have nothing to do with Dorljota. We do not believe in hitmen," said the association's spokesman Joe Mophuting.

He said he was concerned that the courts would release the men, as had happened in the past. But he hoped justice would be done and all killers sent to jail.

"I would be the happiest man on earth if taxi violence stopped.

"It is time the perpetrators are named and shamed."

FTA's deputy chairman Morris Thusi said his group had always prayed that those who fanned the flames of taxi violence would be arrested.

Thusi said he hoped the arrests would lead to the truth behind taxi killings being exposed.