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News - Date: 18 August 2018
Written by: Elmon Tshikhudo / Viewed: 7021
Taxi violence and related killings are no longer confined to the big towns and cities, but it is also spreading to the remote rural areas in the Vhembe District.
Last month, a well-known Thohoyandou taxi owner, Mr William Nethononda, was gunned down at the gate of his home. The 71-year-old taxi owner, a founder-member of the Johannesburg-Venda Taxi Association, was tailed from the local taxi rank in the morning at around 8:30 and was shot and killed in what many believe was taxi-related killing.
His murder sent shockwaves through the taxi industry and the community, with many calling on the government to tighten the screws and apprehend the killers.
As if that was not enough, yet another owner aligned to the Venda-Johannesburg Taxi Association was killed in cold blood last Thursday. Mr Nthambeleni Tshishonga (49) of Maniini outside Thohoyandou, who was also a prominent member of the association, was ambushed by three armed men while seated at a local car wash at Maniini.
The incident happened at around 14:30, while he was in the company of the car washers.
Tshishonga had worked for the slain Mr William Nethononda for a long time before he was assisted in acquiring his own taxi. Some in the industry have suggested that he could have known too much about Nethononda and that killing him was a way of silencing him.
It is alleged that Tshishonga might have recognized his killers as he tried to run away after seeing them, but they shot him several times.
Not long after the shooting, the whole area at the car wash was swarming with curious onlookers who had arrived from Thohoyandou and neighbouring villages.
Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, a resident condemned the killings, saying the law was lenient and that that was the reason why killers killed others with impunity and roamed the streets freely.
"We are in shock. We do not know what is happening in this business. We are no longer safe as guns blaze at whatever time they wish. We will be caught in the crossfire if these killers are not locked in jail urgently," said the resident.
Limpopo police spokesperson Col Moatshe Ngoepe saying they were told that Tshishonga was seated at the local carwash when about three suspects armed with firearms emerged on foot and randomly started firing at him without saying any word. After the shooting, they ran away.
"The suspects are not known at this stage and the motive is not yet clear either, but taxi violence cannot be ruled out," said Ngoepe
After Nethononda's death, Limpopo provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Nneke Ledwaba condemned the ongoing taxi violence in the province. "You cannot resolve conflicts by killing each other. These criminals are going to be hunted down and dealt with mercilessly and without compromise," said Ledwaba.
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Mr Nthambeleni Tshishonga, who was killed in cold blood, in what is believed to be a taxi-related killing.
Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and has since been a familiar name among the newspaper's readers.