Mamelodi taxi drivers hope Khekhe has lost his firm grip on association

Taxi drivers in Mamelodi said they hoped the latest development marked the end of Vusi Mathibela's grip on their taxi association
Taxi drivers in Mamelodi said they hoped the latest development marked the end of Vusi Mathibela's grip on their taxi association
Image: Thulani Mbele

Taxi drivers in Mamelodi are thrilled that their association, which they allege is firmly controlled by jailed boss Vusi "Khekhe" Mathibela, has been put under administration.

Gauteng transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo appointed Pretoria lawyer Hettie Groenewald as the administrator of the embattled Mamelodi Amalgamated Taxi Association (Mata) following a court order this week that dissolved its executive committee.

Mamabolo told Sowetan yesterday that Groenewald will be assisted by a 10-member advisory committee made up of representatives from Mata, the South African National Taxi Council and the Federated Local and Long Distance Taxi Association (Felldta).

Several taxi drivers in Mamelodi said they hoped this marks the end of Mathibela's grip on their taxi association, which was chaired by pensioner Ntate Phora.

"This should be a new dawn for our association following many years of being controlled by one taxi boss, Vusi Khekhe," a taxi driver said.

Another driver said every one in their association, including Phora, had been dancing to Mathibela's tune and allowed taxis belonging to the feared taxi boss to jump queues when loading passengers.

When approached for comment yesterday, Phora said: "As far as I know this matter is still in court. It has not been brought to my attention that a court decision has been made."

When Sowetan explained to him that the executive committee he led had already been dissolved, Phora said he couldn't comment.

Mamabolo said he was grateful the taxi industry didn't oppose his application.

"The role of the administrator is to prepare for proper elections and I'm happy we've managed to resolve this without resorting to closing a taxi rank or withdrawing operating permits," Mamabolo said.

The MEC intervened after taxi drivers had taken to the streets to stop the preferential treatment allegedly granted to about 50 taxis apparently belonging to Mathibela. A taxi allegedly belonging to him was torched in Mamelodi East during the three-week protest.

Mathibela's lawyer advocate Solomon Mkhabela said: "My client is aware about this matter, however there's no instruction about it from him.

"Even though his name was mentioned in court papers, he's not party to the court proceedings."

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