The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said there was currently no clear leadership in South Africa, as taxi violence continues to spiral out of control in KwaZulu-Natal.
A crime culture had been entrenched in the industry and the lives of commuters are placed under increasing risk every day. The IFP does not detect a political will to protect citizens from the thuggery that has plagued the industry during the past two decades.
The two current hotspots are Newcastle and Ladysmith. The IFP comments come in the wake of another assassination, in Newcastle this week. A taxi owner was gunned down in a hail of bullets.
“We call for an immediate end to the ongoing taxi violence which has claimed lives and jeopardised the safety of innocent commuters,” said IFP spokesperson for Transport Steven Moodley.
“This situation cannot continue unabated. It necessitates a thorough investigation and we urge the KZN MEC of Transport, Hon Mxolisi Kaunda to host an urgent formal constructive summit with members of the taxi industry to seek amicable solutions in these affected areas. We must act now before more lives are lost,” added Moodley.
A similar message had been articulated by opposition parties in KwaZulu-Natal last week already, following the Ladysmith assassination, which also contributed to the death of 11 people. The calls for government intervention appear to be falling on deaf ears.
“Decisive action must be taken by government in addressing this matter. Calm must be restored in the affected areas and negotiations for a peaceful solution must be urgently sought,” explained Moodley.
“We urge the law enforcement agencies to act decisively against gratuitous acts of lawlessness, violence and intimidation.”
Government, if and when it acts, can only do so much though. The onus is ultimately on an industry infiltrated by thugs to clean itself up. Getting it to do just that remains the challenge.
“We are also appealing to those responsible in perpetuating this violence to immediately refrain from this unacceptable behaviour. We also call on the taxi associations to remain calm while the police find the perpetrators,” explained Moodley.