Heavy police presence brings relief to Soweto

Taxi feud threatens safety of passengers, locals

Noxolo Sibiya Journalist
Police inspect cars after taxi violence flared up in some parts of Soweto.
SO Police Patrol Police inspect cars after taxi violence flared up in some parts of Soweto.

A heavy police presence in parts of Soweto has brought relief to residents who say they are tormented by constant gunfire and rampant crime. 

Residents of Dube, one of the areas affected by the halting of taxi operations due to fights over routes, say beefed up security has brought them peace. 

Those who live along Mncube Drive said they often hear gunshots between 7pm and 8pm.

The road is one of the major routes used by taxis.

According to community policing forum member Lucky Sixolo, shooting incidents along this route are taxi-related due to an ongoing feud over routes between Nancefield-Dube West Taxi Association ) and Witwatersrand Taxi Association )

, robberies and hijackings. 

This week, taxi operations were halted after a recent resurgence of violence between the associations which Gauteng transport MEC Kedibone Diale-Tlabela said threatened the safety of passengers and residents. 

“The taxi feud has been happening for years. Last year, we drafted a petition to the local police station, asking for police visibility along the routes of disputes and other hotspot areas. We asked this to try and get some peace and ensure that residents and commuters are safe,” she said. 

“The railway line is one of the places where we would often find dead bodies, mostly shot, in the morning..” 

Sixolo said the robbery and shootings of taxi operators was also one of the concerning crimes that has become common in the past year. She said some imposters boarded the taxi and when they arrive in a secluded area, they rob the driver and sometimes shoot them. 

“George Goch is one of those areas, along with an area near a horse racing course. The deployment of police officers in the area was a request long overdue. We know how effective this can be and that is what we are asking for.”

A resident who spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear said: “After hearing gunshots, we later learn that a taxi driver was shot. We don’t always get to know if they survived but we know that this road for some reason seems to be prone to shootings.

“Taxis also get targeted for robberies. There is a common trend along this route of imposters stopping taxis only to rob the driver and commuters at gunpoint. Sometimes drivers are shot during these robberies.” 

She said since the arrival of various law enforcement authorities things have quietened. “When these officers leave, I am worried it might start again.” 


Another resident, Gonoman Sithole, said he no longer felt safe using taxis due to the shootings but often had no choice because sometimes the train does not operate due to cable theft. 

“What is happening is really scary because we rely on taxis so much. When the shooting incidents happen, sometimes commuters are caught in the crossfire and that is a big fear of mine. 

“We do not know why they are fighting but it is affecting us. On top of the existing crime in the area, we are also faced with these taxi-related shootings. Taxis are also being robbed during which drivers get shot and killed while commuters are in the vehicle.” 

Sithole said he was one of the many commuters stranded on Monday when they were chucked out of a taxi from the Joburg CBD before they could reach their destinations. 

“We were not aware of what was happening, so when our taxi arrived in Orlando, it was stopped by a group of taxi drivers who warned our driver that operations had been halted and that we needed to get off,” he said.

The department of transport said it would continue holding public meetings to keep residents informed of developments regarding the matter.


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