Man held for Joe Slovo rank killings

Four men died following a shooting in Joe Slovo last week.

A 41-year-old Nyanga man is facing multiple murder charges after four men were shot at Joe Slovo taxi rank last week in what police suspect is taxi-related violence.

Three of the victims died in Joe Slovo. A fourth died in hospital from his wounds.

Police were called to the scene at about 9am last Wednesday, said provincial SAPS spokeswoman Brigadier Novela Potelwa.

“The ages of the deceased persons are estimated between 27 and 40. Preliminary findings are that the incident is linked to taxi conflict,” she said.

Provincial Taxi Violence Unit detectives arrested the 41-year-old suspect in Nyanga on Monday and seized a gun, according to Milnerton SAPS spokeswoman Captain Nopaya Madyibi. The man was due to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday morning.

“Indications at the crime scene were that the shooting was linked to conflict within the taxi industry. The suspect is facing murder charges,” she said.

Police have urged anyone with information about the shootings to contact the police at 08600 10111 or the MySAPSApp.

Almost 100 people have died in taxi violence in the Western Cape since the start of the year, with the two biggest taxi associations in the province, Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and the Cape Organisation for the Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta), locked in a bloody feud over routes.

They signed a peace deal on Monday August 2, but just hours later, a 56-year-old taxi owner was slain at the Joe Slovo taxi rank (“Shooting could be taxi-related, cops say,” Tabletalk, August 11).

A month earlier, a man in his 40s, believed by residents to be a taxi owner, was shot and wounded in a drive-by shooting near the taxi rank (“Another suspicious Joe Slovo shooting,” Tabletalk, July 7).

In April, two men were killed while sitting in a car on Freedom Way. One of them was a known taxi owner (“Joe Slovo on edge after double killing,” Tabletalk, April 21).

And the community is still shaken by a mass shooting in October last year that claimed the lives of three men and two women (“Township’s night of terror,” Tabletalk, October 14). At the time, residents blamed the killings on a protection racket, although police never confirmed that. Thulani Mbija, the 26-year-old man arrested in connection with those killings, has since made four court appearances, the last on April 15.

Sibongile Kofi, a community leader, said residents had lost confidence in the police.

“People are scared right now because they feel like the police can’t protect them. There have been so many shootings like this one. It seems like there’s an incident like this every two weeks in the area. People need to feel like they are protected by SAPS, but right now, they feel hopeless,” he said.

Nophelo Mdinga, a Joe Slovo resident, said the neighbourhood’s high crime rate was giving her sleepless nights.

“Every day, you think if this might be your time to go. There are muggings, rapes, assaults and murders every day in this community. We do not feel protected at all. We are scared to even leave our homes because of all the violence outside. Even if you are not the intended target, who’s to say you won’t get hurt as a bystander? We can’t live like this,” she said.

The Milnerton police station commander did not respond to requests for comment regarding the resident’s concerns.

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz welcomed news of the arrest and said his department was monitoring the taxi industry closely.

“We thank SAPS, especially the members of the Provincial Taxi Violence Unit, and all other law enforcement agencies for their efficient work in this regard, not just in this specific incident but also in the work that they do to ensure that our commuters are safe. We hope that would-be criminals realise that if you engage in criminal activity, there will be consequences for your actions,” he said.