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Limpopo taxi boss killed after meeting police

Taxi owner Judas Moremi was shot and killed in a suspected hit.
Taxi owner Judas Moremi was shot and killed in a suspected hit.

A senior taxi association official in Limpopo  was killed in a hail of bullets at the weekend, a day after he opened a fraud case relating to missing millions of the association.

Judas Moremi, 53, secretary of the Bolobedu Long-Distance Taxi Association, had allegedly gone to the police in Tzaneen armed with files revealing traces of millions of rands which were looted allegedly by some members of the former executive.

Moremi and eight other executive members of the association, who took office in December, were locked in a dispute to obtain financial records and audited reports from the former office bearers.

Two independent sources confirmed to Sowetan that Moremi had met with the police and the meeting was adjourned for Saturday - the day he was killed.

"We were with Moremi who briefed us about his meeting with the police on Friday, but also indicated that the police said they will be coming to meet us at the offices in Ga-Kgapane," said a senior member who wished to remain anonymous for fear of his life.

"As we were waiting, Moremi received a call that the police have cancelled the [appointment] of the [scheduled] meeting but he told us that they [police] would not sleep without meeting us, and we dispersed. But also, there was a suspicious silver grey VW Polo and a brown Chevrolet bakkie which were spotted following our members."

He confirmed that the association was in a financial crisis and that all its four minibuses were in a combined repayment arrears of R500,000.

"We have two 22-seater VW Crafter and other two Quantum minibuses which were bought for the association and at least R16,000 every week was generated from them. Also, 54 members of the association were contributing R2,000 each and every week but the money is nowhere to be seen."

The source said so far over R20m was missing from the association's coffers.

Another member who also asked not to be identified told Sowetan that they have been pleading with the police to make arrests since their members were being attacked and killed since 2015.

"We are not safe at all because there is one of our member who is hiring hitmen to finish us all. We now believe that there is a hit-list targeting our members and we urge police to protect us," he said.

However, Col Moatshe Ngoepe said police investigations were continuing and more arrests were expected.

He said the recent attack on Moremi and treasurer Makoma Rabothatha was a clear indication that there was a plot to kill the association's members.

Rabothatha was shot in her home while sleeping with her 23-year-old niece but managed to drive herself to the local clinic where she's recovering.

Ngoepe said the shooting led to the arrest of a former chairperson and other members of the association for attempted murder.

The association chairperson Alpheus Tepanyeka neither denied nor confirmed that Moremi had opened a fraud case on behalf of the association. "Let's leave that in the hands of police as they are investigating all the incidents. However, we are concerned about the safety of our members because they have been killed since 2015 and no single arrest has been made," he said.

Tepanyeka said some of the members who were either attacked or killed included Risk Mopai, Samuel Monyai, David Mathe, Ngwako Maake, Godfrey Mantaka and Shelen Mashale - but still no arrests have been made.

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