Wata taxi monitor gunned down in Soweto

Image: 123RF/Roger Lamkin

A taxi monitor has been murdered, just a few days after the announcement that a retired judge would be appointed to look into taxi killings in Gauteng.

Mzwakhe Mathonsi, 57, a Witwatersrand Taxi Association (Wata) monitor was gunned down outside his hostel unit in Jabulani, Soweto, on Sunday evening.

According to a police source, Mathonsi was approached by an unknown male who shot him several times before fleeing the scene.

Sipho Nkwanyane, Wata’s chairperson confirmed that Mathonsi was shot and killed but said he did not have details pertaining to his death.

“I heard about his death but I haven’t been able to get details about it as yet,” he said.

Police spokesperson Constable Mzwakhe Xazi said he could not yet ascertain whether Mathonsi had been killed but said he would confirm at a later stage.

Mathonsi was appointed a monitor at one of the taxi ranks following dozens of murders over disputed routes between Wata and the Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association (Nanduwe).

Mathonsi’s death comes after Premier David Makhura said he would appoint a retired judge after being approached by leaders of the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) and the National Taxi Association (NTA) to look into the escalating murders in the taxi industry.

He said this was an extraordinary measure employed to curb the violence in the taxi industry.

“We want to get to the bottom of these murders - to get the underlying forces in killings in Gauteng Province because of how serious the issue is,” Makhura said.

He said he intended on appointing a retired Judge within the next two weeks, and expected the probe to take six months to conclude.

“The murders are not receding. The killings are getting out of hand everywhere. I am convinced we need to do something extraordinary. We want to know who is actually feeding this (murders) and who is profiting from them and what is the source of this violence. The probe will be on the scale of the KwaZulu-Natal political killings probe,” he said.

In March, former MEC for Roads and Transport Ismail Vadi reported that several cases of taxi-related violence had been reported pertaining to WATA and Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association (Nanduwe) in Soweto.

These included a number of murder cases, several cases of malicious damage to property and one of public violence where six people were shot, seven vehicles damaged and one vehicle was burnt.

 Vadi shutdown routes for three months after attempts to stop the taxi war between the two associations failed. The routes were reopened in June.

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