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“DURBAN-” It is a nightmare to take a cab in the evening. Your life is at risk, and you pray and hope that a blaze of bullets won’t reach your taxi. This was how in Inanda, a resident of the Umzinyathi area described how commuters felt in the area during the ongoing taxi violence. Five female passengers were wounded last Friday when gunmen opened fire on a taxi filled with commuters. According to the police, in the evening, when the driver found another taxi trailing him, a taxi with passengers was travelling from Bridge City in KwaMashu to Umzinyathi. The police said that when the taxi entered the Umzinyathi sector, the occupants of the second vehicle opened fire on it.

“The driver fled the scene, and he discovered that five female passengers were injured when he returned to the car. The wounded were sent to local health facilities to obtain medical treatment, said Brigadier Jay Naickerer, spokesperson for the KwaZulu-Natal police.Naicker said police officers stationed in the area heard the gunshots and immediately responded. He said the gunmen, pursued by officers, fled from the scene. He said the perpetrators opened fire on the police officers as they fled and gunfire was exchanged.

At Emachobeni, they finally lost control of their car and the vehicle overturned into a ditch. As a consequence of bullet wounds to the body, three hitmen died at the scene. It is believed that after the vehicle came to a standstill, others may have fled the scene,” Naicker said. He said police seized five weapons, including a rifle and a shotgun, at the scene. “For further investigation, cases of attempted murder and investigation dockets were registered.”

The Umzinyathi community called on the Acting Provincial Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC, Kwazi Mshengu, to urgently resolve the ongoing taxi violence in the region.Benson Maphalala, a resident, said that taxi abuse had led to fear among commuters.”It’s frightening for those of us who knock off a little late at work to take a taxi home. And if the taxi is full of people or not, these individuals do not care. “They just opened fire and ended up injuring innocent people,” Maphalala said, claiming that the police, taxi associations and the department were not doing enough.

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“Many innocent people have died because of this in this country. For transportation purposes, we need the taxi industry. They have to deal with their war alone, however, and stop involving us as commuters,’ he said. Community leader Xolani Ngcobo confirmed that he had written to the Department of Provincial Transport and the Ministry of Police requesting assistance in the matter. “We can’t bear this anymore, it’s too much. We require serious assistance. There are armed private security officers in all ranks throughout the day, like a banana republic. The provincial department is aware of this issue, and even Ntuli (the late former KZN MEC for transport, community safety and liaison) was aware of this,” Ngcobo said.

Mshengu said there was still a great deal of work to be done to get the taxi industry stability and harmony. We were very surprised by the incident, as this also ends up hurting the commuters. As the department, police officers will continue to be deployed as a means of raising visibility, especially on the Umzinyathi road, he said. He said further interaction with the taxi industry was also needed in order to come up with firm solutions.

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