Association 'lost 50 men to taxi war'

Crime scene detectives counted 54 spent cartridges in Brakpan, east of Johannesburg, yesterday after taxi association guards opened fire at a group of taxi drivers. This photo is used for illustration purposes only.
Crime scene detectives counted 54 spent cartridges in Brakpan, east of Johannesburg, yesterday after taxi association guards opened fire at a group of taxi drivers. This photo is used for illustration purposes only.
Image: Mduduzi Ndzingi

A decade-long feud over money collection in taxi ranks is believed to be behind the killing of more than 50 members of the Kempton Park Taxi Association.

Solomon Maceke, 60, is the latest victim of the ongoing dispute, according to Mandlakhe Mtshali, the chairperson of the association. Maceke was shot and killed by unknown gunmen while driving home on Wednesday.

Police spokesperson Captain Nelda Sekgobela said Maceke was attacked while driving in Madelakufa Section in Tembisa at about 3pm when his Nissan Murano was sprayed with bullets, noting that about 14 cartridges were found on the crime scene.

Maceke's family refused to talk about his killing.

In February, Phillip Mabena, 69, of Welamlambo Section also in Tembisa, was shot and killed in his driveway by unknown men. His daughter found him slumped in his car.

In May, Johnson Mdaka, 63, of Clayville near Tembisa, was shot 29 times in the driveway of his home in the presence of his wife. His daughter watched in horror as gunmen sprayed him with bullets.

Mtshali said the source of the conflict was the splinter group that collects money from the members of the association. "The death of someone is not nice. It is not good when you are leading people and [they] keep [on] shooting [and killing] each other.

"If members do not stop this thing of a splinter group, the killings will not stop."

Mtshali said meetings had been called and resolutions taken to make peace with one another. However, he added, that the parties fail to implement the resolutions, resulting in the feud between the warring parties reigniting.

He said he called a meeting after Mdaka was killed and pleaded with the members to stop the splinter group.

"I urged them to stop hiring the hitmen and paying money to people they did not know.

"They assured me that they understood [me]. But when we were supposed to implement the resolution there were rumours that the implementation of the resolution would lead to more deaths. The person who was killed was not agreeing with the resolution."

Mtshali said more than 50 members had been killed since 2007. "I have lost count. There are so many people who died. I stopped counting a long time ago," Mtshali said.

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