The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said the South African government needed to establish a task team to investigate what it called a mass killing in Ladysmith this week.
Taxi violence has plagued KwaZulu-Natal for years and there has been a sharp upsurge in 2017. The latest incident, in Ladysmith, was responsible for the deaths of 11 people and the IFP feels the need for government intervention has never been more urgent.
The alleged assassination attempt on a taxi owner resulted in a motor vehicle accident that then claimed the lives of ten more people. The fact that taxi-related violence has spilled over into the public is not new either.
“According to the reports, Mr Ngobese (Induna), who was also a Deputy Chairperson of the Klipriver Taxi Association, was travelling with his three children and his four bodyguards near Matiwaneskop on the N11 when they were attacked, then the bakkie that they were travelling in thereafter collided with a minibus taxi believed to be transporting teachers,” said Chairman of the IFP Blessed Gwala.
Gwala said the task team investigation could not just be a whitewash either, adding that it needed to be comprehensive and effective. He doesn’t just want the latest incident investigated, he wants the entire scourge dealt with thoroughly.
“We have experienced many mass killings in KwaZulu-Natal recently. This issue requires urgent attention from relevant authorities. We need to have a clear understanding of the trend of the killings, the locations, hot spots and look at causes,” added Gwala.
“Due to the high unemployment rate, the notion of paid assassins cannot be ruled out as desperate people will resort to desperate measures to earn money to feed their families,” he said.
There are several factors that need to be taken into consideration here. Chief among them, perhaps, is the free flow of illegal weapons in the province. That is compounded by the number of trigger-happy individuals who are happy to use them, just to make a living.
“Above that we are very concerned about taxi violence in KwaZulu-Natal. There are a few trigger-happy and stubborn elements which are responsible for the instability in the taxi industry and these individuals must be isolated. We must make a difference between ‘chance-takers’, the so-called izinkabi or hitmen and those who are earning a legitimate living by driving taxis.”