Home News Ritchie taxi official resigns after shooting incident

Ritchie taxi official resigns after shooting incident

357

The deputy chairperson of the Ritchie Taxi Association has resigned after several shots were fired on his property on Friday evening, where one of his vehicles was damaged.

File picture

THE DEPUTY chairperson of the Ritchie Taxi Association (RTA), Ben van Rooi, has resigned after several shots were fired on his property on Friday evening, where one of his vehicles was damaged.

Elections were held for the leadership of the RTA over the weekend and Van Rooi was re-elected as deputy chairperson.

He indicated that he resigned on June 19 following the shooting incident.

“Being shot at, living in constant fear and losing your life is not worth a position,” Van Rooi said.

He stated that he was asleep at his home in Ritchie on June 17 when he heard several shots being fired into his yard at around 11pm.

“My taxi was damaged on the driver’s side along with the rear-view mirror. It will cost me between R15,000 to R19,000 to repair and I do not have any insurance. The same vehicle was petrol bombed not so long ago.”

He added that other members of the taxi association were also targeted, where acid was poured over their vehicles while the wheels of another taxi was deflated.

“There were concerted efforts to prevent the previous leadership from contesting the elections.”

Van Rooi believed that members of the RTA who were vying for positions could be involved in the shooting.

“The leadership is highly contested and those who are elected are entitled to government big contracts and influential power.”

He added that after waiting about an hour for the police, he went to search for help as there were apparently no vehicles available at Ritchie police station.

“I was concerned as my wife and children were alone at home and were scared following the shooting.

“I found the captain who advised me that the police did not get involved in taxi violence or taxi-related murders and that we should sort out our differences on our own. A docket was eventually opened up at around 2am on June 18.”

RTA members stated that the elections were held in Kimberley instead of Ritchie on June 18, where an entirely new leadership, with the exception of Van Rooi, was elected.

“We asked them to postpone the elections in light of the shooting. Members had to make use of their own transport to attend the elections in Kimberley and not everyone decided to go and vote, while others felt intimidated after the shooting incident.”

They believed that it would have been beneficial to retain some of the old committee to assist with experience and knowledge and in the interests of unity.

Community members also questioned whether the weapon that was used to fire the shots was the same firearm that was stolen from a police officer.

They believed that the firearm, which was never retrieved by the police, was being used to commit robberies and other crimes.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Sergio Kock said on Monday that the Modderrivier police are investigating a case of malicious damage to property after a taxi was damaged in Ritchie.

“The owner of the taxi alleges he was sleeping on June 17, at about 11pm, at his house in Ikageng, Ritchie, when he heard a noise that sounded like gunshots. Upon investigation he discovered that his taxi was damaged. The suspects are unknown,” said Kock.

He added that the police, in a separate incident, were investigating cases of robbery and the negligent loss of a firearm after a police officer based at the Modderrivier police station was allegedly robbed of his firearm in May.

“The firearm was later recovered in his yard in Ritchie days later. An internal investigation has been lodged against the member. No arrests have been made as yet,” said Kock.

He stated that all other allegations were also being investigated by the police.

“Anyone with information can call Detective Constable Nicholas Nkwe on 082 495 4711.”

Previous articleGriquas can leave nothing to chance in Cup final
Next articleRamaphosa’s meeting with Zondo a ’dangerous interference’ in judiciary – Steenhuisen