A large police contingent has been deployed to Dube and Mfolo in Soweto following Tuesday’s minibus taxi related shooting.
Six people were injured following an exchange of gun fire, allegedly between members of the WATA and NANDUWE taxi associations.
Ten vehicles were also damaged.
Since the beginning of the year, three members of the WATA association have been killed and members of both associations have been wounded as a result of the ongoing dispute over routes.
Dube resident and taxi commuter, who chose to remain anonymous, says the violence between the associations has been going on for many years, “It has been very long, maybe five or six years. Every year, there is some shooting here and it is not safe and I got kids. This is their bedroom and when they shoot from there, my windows are big – you know so we are afraid of bullets coming in the house. We are very happy to see police here watching us. And the people on the line, when they start shooting people are running everywhere you see.”
Taxi commuters say they will be severely affected should the ranks of the WATA and NANDUWE taxi associations be shut down.
Frank Khumalo has been commuting with taxis for the past 8 years in Soweto. He says the closure of the ranks and routes are going to have a negative impact.
“This thing between WATA and NANDUWE fighting each other, this thing is very bad and now things are tight and with us who live close to catch a taxi, now we have to walk long distances to catch a bus,” says Khumalo.
Meanwhile, the National Taxi Alliance has urged the leadership of the WATA and NANDUWE taxi associations in Soweto, to sit down and find solutions to their differences.
National Taxi Association spokesperson Theo Malele says, “They are using almost the same routes. The operations nature is so symbiotic in that both associations must actually find common ground and to have a workable solution in operating along these same routes. These routes are public roads and they would not change and it is up to both associations to find it in themselves to find an everlasting solution in working side by side.”
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