The Western Cape provincial task team has been deployed after six taxi drivers were killed within two days in ongoing violence in the industry.
In the latest incident in Ceres on Tuesday, three gunmen opened fire at taxis at the local rank, killing four men at the scene while a fifth died in hospital.
On Monday afternoon, a sixth taxi driver was gunned down at the Bloekombos taxi rank in Kraaifontein.
SAPS’ Novela Potelwa says detectives were at the scene at a taxi rank in Vredebed, Ceres, yesterday morning.
“Reports from the crime scene indicate that three yet-to-be identified suspects opened fire indiscriminately on taxis at a taxi rank after 7am, seriously wounding a man who later died in hospital and four others who died on the scene.
“The identities of the deceased are yet to be released.”
Western Cape Transport MEC Daylin Mitchell says Tuesday’s shooting in Ceres brings the total number of taxi-related murders in the Western Cape to 45 since the start of the year, with attempted murders and injuries at 19 over the same period.
He condemned the killings and said he would take whatever steps available to ensure that commuters are safe.
“This will include both the Western Cape’s Department of Transport and Public Works, as well as the Department of Community Safety, under the leadership of Minister Albert Fritz, assisting SAPS to get to the bottom of these killings.
“I will also be approaching Minister Fritz about the possibility of putting up a reward for information to assist the SAPS in their investigation,” he said.
South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) spokesman Gershon Geyer said they condemned the violence and called on the police to catch the perpetrators.
“Santaco is dismayed and saddened by the shocking killing of the operators in Ceres,” he said.
“We condemn the brutal killings in the strongest possible terms.
“We urge the law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned in order to bring the perpetrators of these heinous acts to book.
“Our heartfelt condolences to the families of the operators.”
Meanwhile at the Bloekombos taxi rank in Mathanbeka Street, commuters ran for their lives on Monday afternoon when the bullets started flying.
One taxi driver was left dead and another wounded.
A commuter who was at the scene said: “It was a lekker sunny day and people were queueing for the taxis to Kraaifontein when the gunshots started going off at the back of the rank.
“It was chaos. There were about 10 taxi bosses and drivers who were chatting to each other at the rank when a gunman suddenly opened fire on them.
“They all ran and the gunshots kept on going. The dead man didn’t stand a chance because many of the bullets hit him.”
SAPS’ Joseph Swartbooi says Kraaifontein detectives are investigating a case of murder and attempted murder.
He says a 29-year-old man was declared dead at the scene while a 43-year-old man was taken to hospital with a gunshot wound.
Anyone with information about any of these shootings can call Crime Stop on 08600 10111.