Police in Limpopo are investigating a fire that destroyed seven vehicles and an office building at Kgapane Taxi Rank outside Tzaneen in Limpopo this weekend. The fire, suspected to be arson, broke out around midnight on Saturday, causing damage estimated at R2 million.
“According to information, a 32 year-old security officer was on duty at the premises when he noticed fire in the yard. He went further to investigate and realised that the office buildings were on fire together with the vehicles parked in the yard.
“The incident was immediately reported to the police and members of the Emergency Fire Brigade who managed to extinguish the fire. The motive of the incident is currently unknown at this stage and police have opened a case of malicious damage to property,” said Limpopo provincial police spokesperson Colonel Malesela Ledwaba.
While the motive for the attack is unknown, a local taxi driver has attributed it to the long running feud between rival taxi bosses belonging to the Balobedu Long Distance Taxi Association (Baldta). He said more than 10 taxi drivers and owners have been killed in recent years as rival groups fought for control of the association.
“These people are fighting and they are killing each other. It seems they are fighting for the chairman’s position. One group is linked to another man called Moremi, who was arrested and recently released on bail. Another man from Block 8 called Titus Rabothata who died recently. He was shot dead in Alexandra. They are fighting for the chairperson of Baldta,” said the taxi driver.
“They have been fighting for a long time. More than 10 people have died. Many of them died last year. Moremi from Bota village, Dipanyika from Ga-Maupa, Rabothata from Block 8, Foray from Ga-Matipane and others. I think Forey and Titus died one after the other. There is a need for intervention.”
He said the fight has sent shock waves in the Ga-Modjadji area, especially the taxi industry.
“People are scared. But affects the long distance association. Local associations are not affected. The Balobedus are eating each other alive.”
Ledwaba urged anyone with information that can assist the police with the arresting the yet-to-be-identified suspects to contact the Bolobedu Branch Commander Lieutenant Colonel Marius Botha on 082 469 2937 or crime stop number 0860010111 or nearest police station or MySAPSApp.