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'I don't want to die': Scared Olievenhoutbosch begs SAPS to resolve taxi clashes

Some Olievenhoutbosch residents did not leave home on Tuesday after the murder of five people in incidents believed to be linked to taxi violence.

A taxi was shot at in Olievenhoutbosch on 2 December 2019. Picture: @Yoliswamakhasi/Twitter

CENTURION - Olievenhoutbosch residents in Centurion have on Tuesday called for bold and drastic interventions to resolve tensions among taxi operators in the area.

This follows the murder of five people in incidents believed to be linked to taxi violence.

A driver and three people inside a taxi are among those who were shot and killed in three separate incidents on Monday alone.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula and Gauteng police commissioner Elias Mawela have expressed concern about the violence in Olievenhoutbosch.

The killing of five people has sent shockwaves through the community and many are too scared to set foot on the streets, while others have opted not to commute on Tuesday.

One woman, Nokuthula Velaphi, said her cousin stayed in the same building as a man who was shot dead in the violence on Monday and called for the police to intervene, soon.

“I was supposed to go to Johannesburg today, but I’m scared to go there [because] I don’t want to die.”

Another resident, Michael Seakamella, said commuters lived in constant fear.

“They are killing innocent people, so this thing is getting worse every day.”

Residents said they hoped government would be able to deal with the root causes of the violence to find a lasting solution once and for all.

Mbalula on Tuesday condemned the killing of five people in what is believed to be taxi-related violence in the area.

His spokesperson, Ayanda Allie-Paine, said: “We as the ministry acknowledge the well-coordinated intervention of the Gauteng provincial government and we also echo their sentiments that violence must never be tolerated. Minister Mbalula has called for the end of hostilities and the amicable resolution of all the related disputes as they pertain to the taxi industry.”

WE ARE SCARED, WE FEAR FOR OUR LIVES

Taxi drivers and owners operating at Olievenhoutbosch have told Eyewitness News how they feared for their lives following the murder of five people.

Mbalula has called for calm while Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Jacob Mamabola has vowed to take drastic steps to stabilise the area.

At the Olievenhoutbosch Plaza Taxi Rank, drivers are too scared to speak about the latest violence out of fear for their own safety and that of their customers.

More than 24 hours after a driver of a taxi patrol vehicle was shot dead and three occupants were rushed to hospital, it remains tense at the rank and Eyewitness News was warned by drivers to leave the area immediately.
But it’s not only at this taxi rank where drivers and commuters are wary of their safety.

One driver refused to speak on the record saying he fears for his life, but he has to continue with his work to put food on the table.

Another taxi driver said his business has taken a knock as commuters are still too scared to leave their homes.

Many taxi drivers said they hoped government could urgently find a lasting solution to the problem.

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