The South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Gauteng Department of Transport have issued a statement, saying that they will be collaborating in order to bring down taxi violence in Gauteng, after it has seen a surge in recent months.
This decision comes after four men, including one security guard, were shot dead in a taxi-related incident in Orange Farm, just South of Johannesburg on Monday. The Johannesburg Metro Police (JMPD) have since arrested eight people with regards to the incident and confiscated no less than eleven rifles and a handgun. The two vehicles involved were also impounded. By the time emergency personnel arrived on the scence, the police said four men were already dead, with one critically injured and a few security guards were allegedly assaulted as well. The police stated that the members of two rival taxi associations apparently arrived at the Palm Springs Mall on Monday and opened fire on one another. No police officers were injured in the gunfight.
According to Lieutenant General Lesetja Mothiba, “The Police Service and the Department of Transport formed a committee at the beginning of the year to fight taxi violence. We know there are many reasons for the violence and that is why different departments need to work together.”
The purpose of the committee is to enforce stricter regulations on taxi drivers and associations, working with municipalities to ensure that taxi drivers need to obtain special permits in order to operate. This will apparently ensure accountability by the drivers and greater control by the police and municipalities alike. The regulations are allegedly to begin being enforced in the city of Johannesburg first, as it is the area with the greatest number of taxi-related incidents and is somewhat a hub for taxi violence nationwide.
“The problem started a long time ago and it goes up and down, so we need to find a long-term solution,” Mothiba said.