WC taxi violence claimed at least 83 lives in 2021

Despite the closure of the contentious B97 taxi route in the Western Cape, there have been 19 taxi-related murders and nine attempted murders reported in the province. And that was just between September and October in 2021.

Image: © Alexey Stiop /123rf.com

CAPE TOWN - Despite the closure of the contentious B97 taxi route in the Western Cape, there have been 19 taxi-related murders and nine attempted murders reported in the province.

And that was just between September and October in 2021.

The route was closed in July to try and quell violence between two associations, which left at least 83 people dead last year.

In November, Transport MEC Daylin Mitchell announced that the Mbekweni route between Paarl and Bellville would remain closed for another three months.

Following a lengthy meeting between the two warring taxi associations, there was no resolution and this left MEC Mitchell with no choice but to close the routes and taxi ranks for two months.

"I couldn't stand by and allow another senseless killing to happen. The commuters are ultimately my responsibility to ensure their safety, to ensure that we protect lives and livelihoods. For July there were 24 killings," the MEC said.

Eventually, in August the two parties signed a peace deal, a deal that Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula called epic at the time.

"Agreement itself it doesn't is hunk dory, it's uhuru, the problem is solved, finally, 100% resolved. Nobody must go out here and say '100%, everything is under control'. No, it is going to be nurtured, implemented step by step," the minister said.

In September, there was another extension and in November, it was announced that the route would remain closed for another three months.