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Gauteng transport MEC slams taxi owners and drivers over road carnage

'We will engage with taxi management,' fumes Jacob Mamabolo

06 October 2021 - 17:28
Gauteng public transport and roads infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo. File photo.
Gauteng public transport and roads infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo. File photo.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

“This is the most shocking tragedy and I cannot condemn it strongly enough. It is the most horrific, barbaric form of murder and we cannot, as a community, allow it to go on.”

Gauteng public transport and roads infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo is an angry man.

Enraged by a series of road deaths caused by taxis, he has undertaken to engage with the taxi industry to address the carnage.

“We as a department will be engaging with the taxi industry leadership on what is going on on the roads with their drivers. We cannot leave this situation as it is,” Mamabolo told TimesLIVE.

Mamabolo was speaking about the horrific death on Sunday of popular cyclist Alex Otto, 50, who was knocked down by a speeding taxi, dragged under the wheels and whose mangled body had to be extracted with the aid of hydraulic equipment. The scene was so bad that even experienced paramedics were traumatised by what they encountered.

“The very first thing that I would like to say is that I send my condolences to the family and friends of the deceased,” he said.

He said the actions of the taxi driver – alleged to have been drunk and speeding at the time of the crash – were a violation of the entire Bill of Rights, “the right to life and dignity”.

“To drag a person under a car like that is the most barbaric form of murder. A person who does that belongs nowhere but in prison. I cannot condemn this heinous crime strongly enough. Law enforcement must do its job now, and the entire criminal justice system, to ensure the harshest possible sentence.”

Turning to the issue of taxi owners, Mamabolo said they too are responsible for the carnage happening under their watch as employers.

“You cannot just take the money, smile, look the other way and wash your hands of what happened. They need to face the fact that they employed a criminal and that their vehicle was used as an instrument of murder. The relationship doesn’t simply end with the collection of money.”