At least six Witwatersrand Taxi Association (Wata) members have been killed in the past four weeks over suspected internal squabbles.
On Sunday afternoon, a Wata taxi squad member and monitor Mzwakhe Mathonsi was gunned down at Jabulani hostel in Soweto. The 57-year-old Mathonsi was standing outside his home when unknown men walked towards him and shot him 10 times.
Wata acting spokesperson Sipho Nkwanyana confirmed to Sowetan that five other men linked to Wata were killed in the past four weeks in what is suspected to be internal disagreements in the association. Nkwanyana said the killings have resulted in the Wata offices and organisational structures being dissolved.
“We have decided to put on hold all leadership offices because if the executive leadership cannot manage the people and we keep seeing so many killings, their work must be on hold until a solution is found.” A police source said the matter had been handed over to the unit investigating taxi violence. Police spokesperson Capt
Mzwakhe Xazi said they were investigating the killings. Gauteng transport and roads infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo has urged the public not to speculate on the killings.
“I’d like to commend the Wata members for having their confidence in the police to investigate the matter…”
Mamabolo said the department was concerned with the killings around Soweto where members of the association have been killed every week in the past month.
“We plead with everyone not to speculate and point fingers; we ask that the police be given the confidence and the space to conduct investigations so that violence is avoided,” he said.
After the taxi summit in Vanderbijlpark last week, Mamabolo said the department was confident it would get to the bottom of the killings through law enforcement agencies.
“We also have appointed a retired judge into the investigations of the cold blooded murders; we ask anyone with information to go to the police and assist families of deceased to find closure.”