Taxi turf war hits Umlazi
Nosipho Po Gumede
Tensions have risen following a taxi turf war in Umlazi, south of Durban, leaving residents immobile and living in fear.
This has happened after the murder of at least two taxi drivers as two taxi associations fight over routes.
Residents allege this taxi turf war started when the eNgonymeni Taxi Association minibus taxis started picking up passengers along their route about a month ago. When confronted about the route permit and rules, the eNgonyameni association allegedly started the war in retaliation.
Bhekumuzi Mthembu, a troubled community member, says this taxi war is affecting him hard since he has to go to work every morning.
“I have to walk almost 10km from eNgonyameni to Umlazi F section to catch a taxi because I have to go to work. This war is really affecting us because even the train station is far,” says Mthembu.
“We have been stuck in our homes because the taxis aren’t operating anymore since the shootings and it’s unfair that passengers are now also caught in the midst of this taxi war,” says Khethiwe Mkhize, another troubled community member.
Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane has confirmed that two counts of murder are being investigated by Umlazi SAPS after two taxi drivers were killed in two separate incidents in Umlazi.
“It is alleged on 16 July 2019 at 18:00, a 43-year-old man was shot and killed while at D section in Umlazi. He sustained a gunshot wound to the head and was declared dead at the scene,” (sic)
“In another incident at 18:35, a 44-year-old man was allegedly shot and killed at M section in Umlazi by unknown suspects. He sustained gunshot wounds to the back and shoulder and was declared dead at the scene,” (sic) said Zwane.
However, a rank manager who asked not to be named, said this war between the MNR Taxi Association and the eNgonyameni Taxi Association has left atleast 4 taxi drivers dead and a few passengers injured.
A taxi driver who asked to remain unnamed says he fears for his life.
“We are terrified to work because our lives are at stake. We have already lost about 4 drivers. We are just working to feed our families and now we have people killing us,” he said.
No arrests have been made.
Picture: The Mercury