Gauteng MEC for Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure Jacob Mamabolo said that since taking office, he has established that some taxi associations have their own hitmen.
Mamabolo was testifying before the commission of inquiry into taxi violence on Thursday in Parktown, Johannesburg. The commission is chaired by Judge Jeremiah Shongwe and commissioners Hlula Msimang and Lungile Mabece.
He said this information was revealed to him through his interventions with various taxi associations.
“These hitmen are not for free. How can we have operating licences issued by the state to promote murder? We need to strengthen legislation and the law [so that killings] will not be allowed,” he said.
Mamabolo said instability and violence in the taxi industry has a negative impact on the economy.
The Commission into Taxi Violence officially kicks off in Parktown, Johannesburg, evidence leader Nano Matlala makes opening remarks #GpTaxiCommission. MEC @JacobMamaboloSA will be giving evidence pic.twitter.com/XPbSDoxiWM
— Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport (@GPDRT_) December 5, 2019
He said he was concerned about allegations surrounding the hitmen as associations allegedly use heavily armed security guards at taxi ranks.
“Dealing with rival taxi associations and dealing with the taxi industry was a ‘baptism of fire’. It is a deeper problem I have to deal with, and I appreciated that,” he said.
Mamabolo said there seemed to be an increase in the number of people killed versus the number of suspects being prosecuted and convicted.
“Why are we not seeing a successful rate of prosecutions?” he asked.