Taxi drivers demand police act on killings of colleagues

Syndicate blamed for deadly Mamelodi crime spree

Taximen in a Pretoria tonwship have expressed concerns about the high number of hijackings in the area.
Taximen in a Pretoria tonwship have expressed concerns about the high number of hijackings in the area.
Image: Gallo Images/Lulama Zenzile.

Mamelodi taxi drivers are fed up with the spike in hijackings, robberies and killings of taxi operators on Solomon Mahlangu Drive and at the  corner of Zambezi and Moloto roads in the township east of Pretoria by an alleged syndicate. 

Taxi drivers took to the streets yesterday afternoon and blocked Solomon Mahlangu Drive with burning objects and rubbish, bringing traffic to a standstill, as they demand answers from their association about the killings. 

The alleged syndicate had already killed five taxi drivers, with the latest victim killed on Wednesday night at the corner of Alwyn Road and Solomon Mahlangu Drive.

Taxi drivers said want they law-enforcement agencies to take action. 

Drivers, who spoke to Sowetan on condition of anonymity, said the latest killing took place at about 7pm on Wednesday, while the driver was dropping off passengers. According to the taxi drivers, unknown gunmen emerged for the bush and robbed passengers. Some managed to escape but the driver was not so lucky, as he was killed on the scene. 

“I'm so heartbroken about what happened to one of our drivers and others, and we now are afraid to work at night because of these incidents,” said one of the drivers.

Another said they want law-enforcement agencies to act quickly to deal with the situation he described as “scary”.

“I'm pleading with the police to speed up their investigation into these murders, hijackings and robberies. We can't continue to work like this.”

“We are not afraid to act, as taxi drivers, but we respect the law of our country, that we must not take the law into our own hands,” said Steerman Monageng, deputy chairperson of Mamelodi Long Distance Taxi Association (Maldta). Mamelodi Amalgamated Taxi Association (Mata) is the other association operating in the township.

Monageng said they first heard of the syndicate when they allegedly robbed Putco buses drivers and passengers travelling to Moloto.

He said the five drivers were killed within the space of two months.

“The two associations [Maldta and Mata] decided to patrol the road but they don't have enough capacity and we are calling on all law-enforcement agencies to patrol the road,” Monageng said.

“We cry with the families who lost their loved ones and their deaths are also a big loss to us.”

The drivers are set  to protest at the  Silverton police station today where they will deliver a memorandum of grievances.

Monageng said the sad part is that members of the alleged syndicate sometimes pose as passengers and they carry guns. 

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