WATCH: Can the KZN taxi violence be stopped?

In the final part of a special series on taxi violence, eNCA's Dasen Thathiah asks authorities what's being done to stop the bloodshed?

DURBAN - Taxi violence investigators in KwaZulu-Natal have more than 400 open dockets on their desks.

There has been a recent spike in shootings in the notoriously dangerous industry.

eNCA has spoken to cold-blooded killers from the underworld while compiling this series.

Ironically, they count the police as allies in the battle against unscrupulous taxi operators.

There appears to be some truth in their utterances.

“There is one case I was informed by the provincial head of organised crime where last year they got information of police officers who from Pinetown took a bribe in one of their investigations," said police spokesperson Jay Naicker.

"They subsequently arrested the three police officers. Those police officers immediately resigned from the police services following their arrest. That case is still ongoing in court at the moment.”

But police insist that the involvement of their own is not common.

"The one incident that springs to mind is a few years back in Ladysmith where a constable from Gauteng who is from the Ladysmith area is involved in a few incidents where a number of people were killed. He was subsequently arrested and has been convicted in that case," Naicker said.

READ: Sanco slams revised taxi regulations

Security specialists like Anwar Khan, who's the director of Pentagon Executive Protection, have to work smartly and cautiously, unsure of who to trust.

"Our main thing is the protection of life and property. Period. You remain neutral in all taxi feuds," Khan said.

Authorities believe competition over routes still drives the unrest.

"We clamp down on those that do not have permits for those particular roads so that’s how we stand in-between for peace purposes. But again the other issue that causes violence in this space is when their leadership have got to be elected," said KZN Transport MEC Bheki Ntuli.

KwaZulu-Natal’s bloody history led to the establishment of a dedicated taxi violence task team.

“Currently we have 51 [people] in this team and this team is working for the entire province but within this 51, ten of them are investigators or detectives so that you don’t just arrest and not investigate the case and then upon the investigation you will be able to arrest those that are perpetrators,” Ntuli said.

“They are a formidable team. And we rotate them so that we don’t keep one and the same, take for example in Richards Bay, so that they will just work in the whole province.”

READ: Bystander records deadly KZN taxi shooting

Although there have been a series of attacks in KwaZulu-Natal recently, the consensus is that it’s nowhere near as bad as a decade ago.

eNCA reached out to Santaco several times in the past few weeks, but our interview requests were ignored.

The current transport MEC, like those who have come before him, is confident that the decades-old war can end.

"All these structures brought together, we are able to achieve peace and stability in the industry," Ntuli said.

"If violence continues we have no choice but to shut down the routes so that we force people to come to their senses and that also is a last resort."

A recent report from Ntuli’s department shows the SAPS’ plan to combat taxi violence in the coming year.

Topping the list is improving crime intelligence.

Source
eNCA