Cape commuters stranded as spate of shootings takes death toll to 71
Thousands of Cape Town commuters were stranded on Thursday after an escalation in the conflict between rival taxi associations left seven people dead on Wednesday.
Taxi ranks across the city were empty and taxi drivers stayed at home. With no trains running on Cape Town’s central line, commuters were forced to take buses or stay at home.
The Western Cape government said on Wednesday that 71 people have been murdered in the conflict since the start of the year.
“Conflict between rival taxi 'mother bodies' Cata and Codeta cost the lives of seven taxi operators in separate incidents throughout the City of Cape Town this morning,” said transport MEC Daylin Mitchell.
“The violence is believed to be the result of a fight over which taxi association’s drivers are allowed to commute on certain routes.”
Several taxis were ambushed on Wednesday morning and drivers were targeted in fatal shootings across the city.
Terror tactics are also being employed against passengers. Commuters queuing for taxis in Samora Machel, Philippi, were peppered with bullets on Wednesday by assailants who fled in a vehicle.
A 40-year-old man was shot dead during the incident, while two men aged 45 and 39 sustained gunshot wounds and were taken to hospital.
Police spokesperson Capt FC van Wyk said Samora Machel police were investigating a case of murder and two cases of attempted murder.
Taxi drivers, however, sustained the brunt of the orchestrated attacks. In Robert Sobukwe Drive, near Bellville taxi rank, a gunman shot at two taxis and hit both drivers.
Van Wyk said one of them, a man in his 30s, died on the scene while the other, a 35-year-old, was taken to hospital.
In Ravensmead, a 41-year-old was behind the wheel of his taxi on the corner of De la Rey Road and Uitsig Avenue when occupants from another taxi opened fire on him.
“The victim was transported to a nearby hospital for medical treatment. Ravensmead police are investigating a case of attempted murder,” said Van Wyk.
In Potsdam Road, Dunoon, a 35-year-old taxi driver was shot dead in his vehicle. “Table View Police are investigating a case of murder,” said Van Wyk.
A taxi full of commuters came under fire at the intersection of New Eisleben and Sheffield Roads in Philippi East when another taxi stopped alongside.
“The occupants fired numerous gunshots at the stationary vehicle,” said Van Wyk.
He said two men, aged 33 and 24, were declared dead on the scene, and two 35-year-old men were taken to hospital. “Philippi East police are investigating two cases of murder and attempted murder.”
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