In March this year, a report released by The Assassination Witness Project, called The Rule of the Gun: Hits and Assassinations in South Africa, discussed the growing crisis of contract killings in the country, and in the taxi industry in particular.
The report showed the severity of contract killings in the country between 2000 to 2017.
KwaZulu-Natal accounted for 40% of hits that were reported to law enforcement authorities. It amounts to 522 cases over seven years.
Gauteng accounted for 24% of the contract killings reported in the country over the same period, and the Western Cape 14%. The Free State and Mpumalanga had the lowest number of reported cases at 1%.
Over the past year there were only three convictions out of the 134 violent crimes related to the taxi industry, says transport and Public Works MEC Donald Grant.
He said the rest of the other, cases were thrown out of court because of poor investigations or lack of evidence, adding that 67 of these cases were murders.
This came as at least 10 taxi drivers were killed since Friday.
Rival taxi associations, the Congress of Democratic Taxi Association (Codeta) and the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Associations (Cata), believed criminals were behind the killings.
These associations were intending to defuse the tension, which rocked Nyanga, Khayelitsha and Wynberg.
The dispute is believed to be over operating routes between the two associations.
An independent inquiry, set up by Grant’s department, has been looking into the violence since Monday.
According to Grant, the 134 incidents came from a document from his office which was documented before this weekend’s killings.
“There needs to be consequences for people who take the law into their own hands.
“There is organised crime that is behind this,” said Grant.
Codeta spokesperson Besuthu Ndungane said: “There will be no more shootings and deaths. It’s business as usual now. Commuter’s safety is our concern and we assure them they will be safe when travelling in our vehicles.”
Cata’s Andile Seyame echoed Ndungane’s comments saying commuters would be able to travel safely.